MIDTOWN — Scores of New Yorkers came out to shred, dump, pummel and discard their bad memories before welcoming the New Year.
The fifth annual Good Riddance Day took place on Wednesday on Broadway between 43rd and 44th streets, where a mobile shredding truck, a dumpster and a sledgehammer ensured locals and tourists could discard their bad memories of 2011 for a fresh start to the new year.
"Every year brings new trials and tribulations," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a co-organizer of the event, which is loosely based on a Latin American tradition where artifacts representing the previous year are turned into effigies to burn. “We’ll be shredding, pummeling and obliterating a whole year’s worth of unwanted detritus in order to begin 2012 with a fresh perspective."
Among the first in line was Daisy Lorengo, 41, a cashier from Brooklyn, who got rid of all the prescriptions and papers associated with her recently diagnosed bronchitis.
"It’s my last day to take all the medication," she said. "I hope it’ll all be over in the new year."
Melba from Manhattan, who declined to give her last name, arrived with a carry-on suitcase of papers.
"I just want to get rid of all the bad memories of my brother, who passed away 14 years ago," she said.
"They’re all tax, bankruptcy, paper bills," she said. "My house will be cleaner and it makes you freer from all the sad memories."
An online contest for Good Riddance Day contest was organized on Times Square Alliance’s website in the lead up to the event.
The winner was Katie Selman of Tampa, Fla., who wished "Good Riddance" to long military deployments so that her five children can see their father more often.
By shredding military deployment papers of her husband, she said she wanted to have "more family memories" with her husband.