Today in Times Square, as Elsa, Anna, and Elmo
looked on, dozens of people lined up to say goodbye to the parts of 2015 they're eager to leave behind. Some carried items with actual heft: old laptops too dated to run and bags of clothes left by people no longer in their lives. Others brought ideas: "Negativity," "procrastination," and "not letting go" were scribbled on pieces of paper by folks waiting eagerly for the opportunity to drop the words into the giant shredder whirring madly on Broadway.
It was all part of an event called Good Riddance Day
, which the Times Square Alliance has hosted in NYC's most popular tourist attraction for the past nine years. The goal: letting New Yorkers and visitors alike shed unwanted items and feelings from the past and get ready for the new year.
The host of the festivities, television personality Allison Hagendorf
, called the buzz of the shredder a "therapeutic noise." She explained that the spot where men and women dropped their student loans and old credit card bills was a place for "positive vibes only."
The event was inspired in part by a Latin American
tradition which involves burning symbols of less-than-happy events from the past year. Those waiting for their moment with the shredder seemed excited and hopeful about all the possibilities that 2016 holds for themselves and the world. And if that optimism wasn't a strong enough pull to get them to stand between the crush of tourists in the (finally) cold December air, the chance to see a man take a sledgehammer to a battered computer in sight of the Disney store was.
We asked a handful of Good Riddance Day revelers what they were ditching — and what they hoped 2016 might bring.