News

Times Square visitors purge bad memories ahead of New Year

Times Square visitors purge bad memories ahead of New Year

SMASH ZONE: Computers and outdated electronic gadgets that have been smashed sit on a carpet during "Good Riddance Day" in Times Square in New York, Dec. 28. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

By Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hoping to forget the heart-breaks and hard memories of 2013, people lined up in New York’s Times Square on Saturday to discard physical reminders of unpleasant experiences with the help of industrial shredding machines.

The annual Good Riddance Day event, held three days before New Year’s Eve, allows people to symbolically purge bad memories by putting photos, documents or written reminders through a massive paper shredder in hopes of clearing a path to a brighter future.

Thomas Avila, 26, one of the first people in line on for the shredder, said 2013 was a roller coaster for him. One of the hardest parts, he said, was telling friends and family he was gay and finding some of them could not accept him.

Shredding the memory was a way of saying “goodbye to my old life,” said Avila, 26, who lives in New York’s Queens borough. “I know things will get better.”

Avila had written in his note for the shredder that he was saying goodbye to “horrible debt and people who betray.”

The shredding practice on Good Riddance Day was inspired by a Latin American tradition in which New Year’s revelers stuff dolls with objects representing bad memories and set them on fire, according to the organizer, the Times Square Alliance.

For many, the shredding was an attempt to cast off bad habits or bad relationships.

“I’m shredding the reminder of finding out the truth through DNA testing that my daughter is not my biological daughter,” said Sam Tlali, 39, who was visiting from Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I think after I do this I will feel relieved,” Tlali said.

Gabby Trofa, 19, a college student from Aston, Pennsylvania, visiting New York City for New Year’s, had a different goal.

“I want to say good riddance to any stress and worries and the people who bring me down,” Trofa wrote in her note.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by David Bailey and Dan Grebler)

Recent Headlines

8 hours ago in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘How To Be Single’ feels the same while trying too hard to be different

22-overlay-9

"How to Be Single" makes a valiant attempt to send up rom-com clichés but it borrows so much from other, better movies that you start to wonder if the film’s title should be "How to Commit Larceny."

9 hours ago in Music

Charles Kelley is a dad

charleskelleycassiekelley

The "Need You Now" singer and his wife Cassie McConnell Kelley welcomed son Ward Charles Kelley on Thursday.

11 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Star Wars’ producers face charges in Harrison Ford’s on-set accident

18-overlay-7

The "Indiana Jones" star broke his leg when the door of the Millennium Falcon fell on him during filming in 2014.

15 hours ago in Entertainment

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ headed for Broadway debut

mockingbird

Harper Lee's classic novel is coming to Broadway for the first time in a new stage version written by "West Wing" writer Aaron Sorkin.

15 hours ago in Entertainment

Charlize Theron gearing up for ‘Fast 8’

charlizetheron

The "Mad Max: Fury Road" star is in early talks to play the villain in the eighth installment of the hugely successful street racing series.