Times Square transformed into a center of shredding unpleasant remembrances Monday as New Yorkers and visitors cast away their 2015 woes.
The area hosted its ninth annual “Good Riddance Day.” It allowed people to write the memories or ideas or bring personal items, like old love letters and credit card statements that they’d like to leave behind before they head into 2016. All were stuffed into a huge shredder truck.
Dozens of participants came up with all sorts of good riddance items symbolizing woes from the personal — debts, weight and former significant others — to larger issues such as racism, political grandstanding and cynicism.
“It seems like a good relief,” said Kat Oridami, 29, of Staten Island, who shredded a letter about a breakup she had this year. “I got stronger and better.”
The Times Square Alliance started the good riddance shredding event in 2007, inspired by old Latin American customs. Around New Year’s Day, people in such countries as Panama and Venezuela would stuff dolls with objects representing bad memories and then light them on fire.
“Good Riddance” participants said they didn’t want to go to those extremes, but destroying a paper embodiment of their worries was satisfying.
“It feels good to get rid of the bad and start the new year positive,” said Zachary Budnick, 29, of Union Square who shred a personal item from last year that he asked to keep private.
Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said the event resonates with a lot of New Yorkers and has grown more popular each year.
“When we started out
, we had a little office shredder and it couldn’t take all of it,” said Tompkins, who shred a picture of Donald Trump, declaring his politics distasteful.