Visiting Havelock2 - A New Toy-Mecca in Singapore?

A spry and sunny Sunday, half an hour past high noon, I'd found my way to Havelock2 Retail Mall (*Their promos call the space "Havelock ii", perhaps it seems more posh, but I'll stick with "Havelock2", thanks :p), along Havelock Road. The first time I am making my way to the destination, arranged to meet a returning dear friend. Since the shops' move I had been preoccupied with life and family circumstances, but this was the first instance where I could comfortably afford the time to visit the mall and see for myself images of which folks had posted about online.

If you have no idea what I am yakking on about, do check out my previous blog-features, where the news of China Square Central's impending closure has since left the Sunday Flea Market taking up a new home in Fook Hai Building (across the road from CSC in Cross Street), and a grip of brick-n-mortar shops since moved into Havelock2 Retail mall, a couple of roads and junctions away, nested along Havelock Road, beside Furama City Center/Hotel (beyond Peoples Park Centre), and the former "The Thong Chai Medical Institution" (Online Map). There is nothing at China Square Central for your toy-needs now ... here's a little jaunt down memory lane, shall we?

Back to Havelock2, shall we? :)

The serene void of sound and activity struck my senses, as I venture into the automated building - a building where doors do not open until you press the tab (reminds me too much of my local polyclinic entrance and toilet entrances in hospitals lol), and escalators that stay still (until you walk towards it, whereby sensors hum it into "life"). All this electronic activity, and the dearth of closed shops made it an interesting horror-house of the new millennium, actually! So Exciting!

"CBD" ("Central Business District") on a weekend is such a frightful thing, for a retailer, I assume. The hustle and bustle of flea market stalls and casual shoppers of China Square Central Sundays for the past decade or so, now echoes like a faded memory, as I stood on the silent moving steps that brought me up to the second floor, with the third floor being my final destination.

Spotted on the 2nd floor was first a "costumes and mascot" rental shop, which featured a long window display showcasing life-sized costumes (presumably for rent) of "Optimus Prime" and "Bumblebee" Transformers, flanking a "Hela" and "Thor" (from the "Thor Ragnarok" film), and beside them, an obvious "Plus-sized" First Order Stormtrooper armor outfit (which I felt was an awesome happenstance, as it provides even more folks a chance at fulfilling a dream, IMHO), beside an Iron Man suit.

Walking further in, I found "Toy Realms" (previously situated on the ground floor at CSC), with their familiar racks of pegged blister carded figures, and shelves of comicbook and media licensed collectibles and figurines, alongside a varied selection of "wrestling carded figures". This would be the spot where I can fulfil my ReAction figures needs, well, so I tell myself ... always holding out for toy-hope, people! ALWAYS...

Another level up was where the main toy action was at! Premiere art toy store "Ozzo Collection" was flanked on both side by "Past Time Collectible" (direct neighbour to it's left), which led further in beyond the strangely situated Information Counter into two more collectibles shops within, which offered primarily 1/6th-scaled goodies.

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On the other side of Ozzo we could find retro-goodness galore that which was "Wings's Antiques and Collectibles", and a few more shops around the corner. Alas I've not had any snaps of the shops interiors, save for Ozzo ... look, I'm not going to sugar-coat anything here, what you remember CSC shops to be, essentially remain the same, "regular customers" will be treated with a smile, while everything else is "same-same", just different geography, so let that placate your hearts and expectations, in case you'd worry you might be heading into a brand "new universe" LOL

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Familiar scenes of tables stood outside of the shops (only for weekends/Sundays) displaying toys and goodies bringing back the flavour of CSC, the only missing ingredient to this new toy-landscape of toy-hunting, was the "thronging crowd", IMHO. What the place ultimately need, is YOU, and you, and you, and You.

(This space is a treasure-trove of potential activity! And by that I don not mean a flea market table/space, but a communal space for folks and toy-lovers to hang, IMHO.)

The plus side of the building was that there were a surprisingly decent amount of seating benches (perfect for old folks like me - whenever I enter a new Mall these days, two things I will look for: (1) The restroom, and (2) public seating options). The space in-between the Information Counter and a shop-space, had benches and a drinks vending machine too = A perfect place to hang and chat about toys!

I would heartily suggest that "little diorama backgrounds" (for toy-photography) be available to the public all around the level, so that folks can actually stay behind and take pictures/instagram and tweet their toy-scores! And it would probably help if there were more adequate eatery and beverage options in the mall, of the more economical persuasion (*cough*) ... although, there is of course still the option of leaving the mall and travel to People's Park next door, and not return until the next time.

Also be warned, there are no bank tellers/ATMs in the building (yet). You might need to top up your wallet, or press-for-cash at neighbouring spots, more likely People's Park Centre, or Central further down closer to the Clarke Quay MRT.

It did not help that it had been a rainy Sunday afternoon. But in truth, why bother if "the glass is half empty", when it means one can browse and stare at racks of toysToyTOYS your own heart's content, without needing to give way to folks waiting behind them LOL

(I will be taking a closer look into Ozzo's shop space in time, folks! So stay tuned to TOYSREVIL!)

"Toy Shopping" has become somewhat a very singular activity. Heading to a toyshop to pick up pre-orders, is the norm, compared to wandering around in a subtle toy hunt, which in the past in CSC would make for a decent Sunday afternoon-retreat with the benefit/possibility of bumping into fellow toy-collectors and friends, and retreating to a nearby coffeeshop/house for drinks and further commiseration of the hobby, before going back into the shops and poisoning each other into buying even more toys! And THAT is but a fun aspect of toy-collecting, methinks!

What is the alternative? Staying home and ordering online? In this instance, I would heartily suggest you get up and out of the house, visit Havelock2 to meet up with fellow toy-collectors, enjoy the toy-hunt, and at the very least support the toyshops.

The title of this blogpost featured the question; "A New Toy-Mecca in Singapore?" - And while the answer yesterday Sunday was a simple "NO" from me, BUT it does not mean the "end" of the space, it only means it is just the beginning! It is up to US, and even the SHOPS to make it so, and it sure as heck'll be a exciting new journey of toy-joy for everyone :)

Nevertheless, may your toy-hunt be fruitful and fortuitous, fellow toy-lovers and collectors!
See you at Havelock2 some Sunday, yeah?



Joe Gievano said…
Very helpful article, I'm heading to Singapore tomorrow and will definitely check it out. Any G.I. Joes modern era stuff still available there? Thanks.