Before City Square Mall was New World Amusement Park, S’pore’s most colourful nightlife location in the 1920s

It was the hottest place to be back in the day.

Julia Yeo | Sponsored | September 09, 2020, 05:00 PM

Located in the outskirts of Singapore’s city centre, City Square Mall is a shopping centre right above Farrer Park MRT station.

While the mall was opened in 2009, it is the exact location where the historic New World Park once stood 97 years ago.

S’pore’s colourful nightlife in the 1920s

The New World Park was the first of Singapore’s three renowned amusement parks opened in 1923 by two straits Chinese merchant brothers, Ong Boon Tat and Ong Peng Hock.

Photo via National Archives of Singapore

Similar to the amenities of the shopping malls we have today, the amusement park boasted open-air cinemas, shops, opera halls and restaurants.

However, New World Park was also famous for its nightlife and cabarets.

Singapore’s first public cabaret opened at New World Park with vaudeville artists and 30 dancing partners who were “the cream of Manila” and personally recruited by Ong Peng Hock.

The cabarets at New World Park were so popular that they were said to have even occasionally attracted the late Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and his entourage.

The amusement park also hosted Singapore’s first open-air “talkie” in 1930, a theatre screening movies with sound as opposed to silent movies.

Restaurants at New World Park were also popular for wedding banquets.

During the Japanese Occupation of WWII, New World Park was renamed Shin Segai, and was known as a gambling den open to civilians, but not Japanese soldiers.

It reopened again as an amusement park after the war, but its popularity eventually declined in the 1960s, with the rise of other forms of entertainment such as television set, discos, and nightclubs.

New World Park closed permanently in April 1987, and the land was bought over by City Developments Limited (CDL), where City Square Mall and City Square Residences were built years later.

An entertainment spot once again

In 2011, City Square Mall reconstructed the New World Gate at City Green, the state-owned park beside the mall, as a symbol of the past memories of the iconic amusement park in Singapore.

(Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/VVS.sg)

Today, the mall also bears similarity to the former establishment which stood on the same ground as itself.

City Square Mall is filled with family-friendly entertainment, such as AIRZONE, an indoor playground and ball pit suspended six levels above ground.

Photo via Tickikids

The mall also boasts other entertainment options such as a cinema and two arcades, and a wide array of food options such as Din Tai Fung, Genki Sushi, Saizeriya and more.

In addition, City Square Mall is home to two supermarkets -- NTUC Fairprice and Japanese supermarket Don Don Donki, leaving families with plenty of options for grocery shopping.

With its prime location and close proximity to Farrer Park MRT station, it’s not an overstatement to call it a hidden gem.

Promotional campaign at City Square Mall

For those keen on travelling down with their families and friends for a jaunt, City Square Mall is currently having a promotional campaign for shoppers, with a number of voucher options up for grabs.

With a minimum spend of S$100 (S$150 if inclusive of NTUC FairPrice, Q&M Dental and/or Schools receipts), shoppers can redeem a $10 City Square Mall voucher, limited to one redemption per day.

If you spend a minimum of S$200 (S$250 if inclusive of NTUC FairPrice, Q&M Dental and/or Schools receipts), you can redeem two S$10 City Square Mall vouchers.

Citibank credit card members will get an additional S$10 City Square Mall voucher when the spending is charged fully to Citibank Credit Cards.

This promotion is valid from Sep. 4 to Oct. 4 2020.

Find out more about City Square Mall and its ongoing promotions here.

This sponsored article by City Square Mall makes this writer dream of lying inside the AIRZONE ball pit all day long.

Top image via RENDY ARYANTO/VVS.sg, National Archives of Singapore