Times Square shredding event empowered NYers to destroy awful 2017 memories

The Good Riddance Day event in Times Square allowed New Yorkers to bid farewell to their least-liked memories and moments on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

New Yorkers are a passionate people, and braving 18-degree weather to shred their worst memories of 2017 in Times Square is no exception to that rule.

Celebrating Good Riddance Day Thursday, shredders took the opportunity to vent their frustrations about myriad subjects — toxic relationships, anxiety, the Trump administration, and more. They printed out photos of people that had wronged them, wrote out words like “Debt,” “Negative energy,” and “Dating Scene 2017” on pieces of paper provided by organizers and triumphantly stuffed them into bins to be ripped into bits.

Shred-it, the information security company that sponsored the 11th annual event, also provided a hammer if anyone was inclined to smash personal items from 2017.


“I’m shredding bills I managed to pay off during the year so I can get a fresh start on whatever is positive in my bank account,” said Queens resident Nancy Leebommer, one of many resolute New Yorkers who braved the cold to be at the event. “It’s a nice way to refresh your mind and go on with your day just a little bit lighter and happier.”

The Good Riddance Day concept comes from a Latin American tradition where New Year’s revelers put items or bad memories from the previous year into dolls and set them on fire, according to Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance.

“Good Riddance Day gives us a chance to reflect on the past year and purge ourselves of the things that remind us of our frustrations, mishaps and faults,” he said in a statement.

Carissa Payan won the Good Riddance Day contest this year and traveled to New York from San Diego to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

“My husband and I had made a resolution last year that by the end of 2017, we would be debt free,” Payan, who shred a final $25,000 bill of her debt payment, said. “It feels amazing to finally be able to say that we are.”

In 2016, Arlene Roberts won the contest after submitting a wig she wore during her fight against cancer.

With Shaye Weaver