It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, or what it is that you do for a living... Most, if not every single person on our sunny shores has had some sort of memory at this very place.
You might have come here as a kid to celebrate your friend's 7th birthday party or dropped by as a teenager after an end of year class barbeque by the beach. Spent hours here as a tertiary student studying hard for the exams (or "pretending" to study for exams but actually using it as an excuse to spend hours next to your crush while she intently puts all her focus into the books.)
Sunk your teeth into a delicious well-deserved breakfast burger after a morning run and satisfied your late night cravings with friends. Came here with family for cherished meals. Return years later with your very own family (this time with you being the parent).
Like I said, it doesn't matter who you are or what it is that you do, every single one of us has had a delicate piece of nostalgic memory attached to this iconic landmark of Singapore's history.A familiar sight, a memorable structure, an unbeatable location, a key ingredient of our country's heritage.
And Sunday 18th March 2012 was the day that we said goodbye, well, for now anyway.
That was the day that East Coast Park McDonald's closed its doors for the next 2 years due to the massive reconstruction and redevelopment of the Cove area! Always remembered as an unrivalled icon that's close to many Singaporean's hearts, I've had my fair share of incredible memories here... the kind of stuff that makes me reminisce with longing.
Believe it or not, my very first "outing" with a girl actually took place right here at East Coast Park McDonald's. It was the year 2001 and I was in Secondary Two, and it wasn't actually a date, far from it, although back then I did wish with all my heart that it was. You see, there was this girl, as always, that I had an immense crush on, a girl I met in church... She had big problems with the boys, and I was... the shoulder, the sponge, the ear, guy who was always there.
We spent three hours together at McDonald's... and nothing actually happened after that. But still... she was the very first girl that I had ever gone out with, and it was somehow fitting that it actually took place at East Coast Park McDonald's :)
I think the 2012 version of that story would be known as the "friendzoned". Well, don't tell my girlfriend this, but I've been back to THE very same McDonald's over the years, with a handful of different girls since then! (Her included! We actually celebrated her 21st there at about 1am with a slice of cake at McCafe!)
I've said this once and I'll say it again... if you are dating someone in Singapore and you've never brought your significant other/date/partner to McDonald's East Coast Park... then you've never dated at all!
I can't quite explain it, but there is a magical and somehow mystical aura about the place... You can just feel it... a light hearted and easy going charm... complete with an all out chill atmosphere, top location and affordable bites; PERFECT for stopping by after a long romantic walk by the beach with your loved one. It is inevitable that you will one way or another find yourselves hanging out right at this very outlet... It really helps too that the staff at this particular outlet always seems to be injected with some thrillingly exhilarating shot of "happy juice"... These guys are ALWAYS smiling and forever boisterous... even at 4 in the morning (trust me on this, I've been here in the wee hours more times than I can count!)
So it comes with great regret and yet unexplainable joy on this fine Sunday morning when I embarked on a meaningful and significant walkathon from this enchanting McDonald's Outlet... to its brand new one, located not too far away.
The Day started with an enlightening and in some way edifying chat... it was with a lady who has worked at THIS outlet for more than 15 years... and oh boy what a journey it has been for her... Restaurant Manager Kelly Leong...
She shared with me her experiences, memories, significant moments, and so much more...
Speaking of which, I have to introduce you to this amazing man that's truly one in a million.
Enthusiastic, passionate, zealous and absolutely mind-blowingly fanatical about his job... he actually walked around with THAT photo album... and guess what... that boy you see in the photo below... that's HIM working at THIS very McDonald's Outlet decades ago...
Speaking of decades... Let me also introduce you to this particular "aunty"... the very same Aunty who has been manning this drive thru window almost EVERY SINGLE DAY for more than 17 years!
Fun Fact for you... McDonald's East Coast Parkway was the VERY FIRST outlet on our island that provided a Drive Thru Service!
This is in contrary to popular belief that Kallang was the very first outlet that provided such a service! By the way, in case you're wondering, there are a total of 11 McDonald's outlet in Singapore that provides Drive Thru- full details here... http://www.mcdonalds.com.sg/location_drivethru.html
Where were we? Oh yes! The Fun Walk!
Bright and early on a Sunday morning, I was AMAZED at the number of people that actually turned up to pay homage to this piece of history!
People from all walks of life and backgrounds...
Every one of us that turned up had a unique connection to this place... one that belonged to us and no one else... Like this couple for example!
4 years ago, the lady, yes you read this correct... the LADY proposed to this very gentleman carrying the little girl AT THIS VERY MCDONALD'S OUTLET... AAA-FREAAAKIN-MAZZINNNG!!! See... I wasn't kidding when I said that this is a place of deep significance in many people's lives!
Which is why a ton of us came down today for this landmark walkathon event... which wouldn't be complete without... warm-ups!
Everyone young and old took part in the stretching, pulling, and deep breathing "mini-exercise" routine before the real thing...
Including this aunty!
Minutes later... it was time for flag off! And who else but the one and only Ronald McDonald himself to get us going!
Through the walkway...
And onto East Coast Park Beach!
What's a fun walk without some lively motivators?
This family is one of hundreds of thousands who have had multiple generations of McDonald's Outings at this ECP outlet!
In fact, they were telling me that they actually dated here when they were younger! Just like this next couple, who actually came to this outlet to "STUDY"!
and years later they have returned with their child and family pet! :)))
Back to the walk...
and then a quick pit-stop to indulge in some early morning Tai Chi with the uncle and aunties!
Before long... we were finally here!
The brand new spanking two storey 24 hour McDonald's ECP located at the convenient and picturesque East Coast Seafood Centre!
Trust me when I say that the view is gorgeous... beach front dining at its very best!
What's a McDonald's event without its trademark mascots?
In case you're wondering...
From Left to Right... that's "Birdie the Early Bird", The "Hamburgler", and "Grimace"!
And of course...
Ronald McDonald himself!
A look at the inside of the BRAND NEW McDonald's ECP Premises!
Did I mention that it's two levels?
And so with that came the end of a journey...One that was 30 years long, full of memories that will last an entire lifetime, or two.
Perhaps this place might return in two years after redevelopment is completed... perhaps it will not...Whatever it is, cherish the moments that we had and keep them close to heart...
In the meantime, we can always create brand new ones at the recently opened outlet, and this one is just by the beach... serene, tranquil, quaint, and plenty of potential for equally wonderful memories! :)
McDonald's East Coast Park... it's not the end...
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