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Times Square shredding event lets you say 'Good Riddance' to bad memories

Whether it's a paid bill, love letters from an ex or a bad memory, you can destroy it.

Good Riddance Day, held annually in Times Square,

Good Riddance Day, held annually in Times Square, offers a chance to say farewell to the worst of the year.  Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

It's been a long year and we all need a little therapeutic destruction.

Good Riddance Day is back at the end of the month, giving the chance to shred and smash reminders of awful things we want to leave in 2018. And there's plenty to choose from — political scandals, mass shootings, rising costs, crippling debt and hateful rhetoric — and that's just some of what was in the news. In our personal lives, take your pick of things to purge, from bad relationships to employment missteps, bad haircuts to misguided purchases.

Amid all of that, it's easy to forget 2018 included an Olympics, Beychella, Marvel's "Black Panther" and Central Park's notable newbie the Mandarin duck.

Good Riddance Day is the perfect opportunity to clear out all the junk so you can remember the good — and start 2019 with a clear head. 

Here's what you need to know to participate.

Where: Times Square, between 45th and 46th streets

Right smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, you'll be making a public statement by shredding your stuff.

When: Friday, Dec. 28, from noon to 1 p.m.

You only have an hour to get rid of reminders from any heinous, annoying or tragic things that transpired this year. Take that lunch break and use it to heal.

What you can shred: Pick one or a few things that represents something you want to say "goodbye" to, whether it's a paid medical bill, a card from your ex, reminders of your student debt ... it's up to you. Last year, Queens resident Nancy Leebommer shredded bills she paid off in order to "get a fresh start on whatever is positive in my bank account,” she said. And in 2016, Arlene Roberts from California submitted a wig she wore during her fight against cancer. 

The shredding, which is a symbolic event for clearing out single memories or ideas, is not a disposal event, however, so don't expect to shred large amounts of paper.

How it's shred: First, you write the thought, concept or feeling you want to forget onto a sheet of paper that is then immediately destroyed right before your eyes as you slip it into the shredding machine. For those who bring physical objects unfit for a shredder, there's a sledgehammer on hand. If you can't physically make it to Times Square, you can use #GoodRiddanceDay on Twitter and Instagram and it will be shredded it for you.

Why shredding?: 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.

If you go: The hourlong event is free and starts at noon in Times Square. Find out more at timessquarenyc.org.

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