New York City said adieu to 2022 Wednesday in an annual Times Square tradition.
Produced by the Times Square Alliance, the Good Riddance Day event tasks city dwellers with unburdening themselves with their own personal trials and tribulations from the past year. Hundreds flocked to the beating heart of the Big Apple on Dec. 28 where they scrawled unwanted memories on small papers that were then destroyed in dramatic fashion.
In the past, Times Square has been the site of shreddings and even burnings as locals and tourists alike endeavor to leave struggles in the past. However, for the 16th straight event, an obstacle course was erected on Broadway and West 46th Street.
“We have a fantastic team, and they’re always coming up with creative ideas and they wanted to do a more positive spin this year, which is why we came up with a symbolic obstacle course,” Regina Fojas, the Chief of Staff for Time Square Alliance explained.
Dubbed the trash, bash, and dash course, New Yorkers were tasked with writing the things they want to be rid of on a form before tearing it up, whacking a punching bag, and running a brief obstacle course after which they received a $30 gift card and a scarf each. People of all ages joined together to symbolically leave their worries behind. Even the Times Square mainstay the Naked Cowboy got involved, stating he wants to leave pants in the rear-view mirror.
One memorable participant by the name of Mike Betzler beat cancer this year and arrived to trash the mask he was forced to wear during chemo, radiation, and surgery. Betzler donned the mask as he sprinted around the course before stomping on it at the finish line.
“This is my radiation mask and I had to wear it 35 times, it is not a pleasant thing,” Betzler told amNewYork Metro. “I came to Good Riddance Day to get rid of some bad memories. So, I’m lucky to be here for good reasons.”
The event was sponsored by Netspend, whose CEO Kelley Knutson also ran the obstacle course. Knutson also awarded the very first runner with a $500 gift card.