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Times Square shredder offers good riddance to 2009

Tom Tompkins with the Times Square Alliance shreds Tiger Woods headlines Monday, Dec. 28, 2009 in New York's Times Square. Need to say good riddance to bad memories from 2009? Head to Times Square, where organizers of New York City's New Year's Eve celebration are setting up shredders on Monday. Tom Tompkins with the Times Square Alliance shreds Tiger Woods headlines Monday, Dec. 28, 2009 in New York's Times Square. Need to say good riddance to bad memories from 2009? Head to Times Square, where organizers of New York City's New Year's Eve celebration are setting up shredders on Monday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
By Karen Matthews
Associated Press Writer / December 28, 2009

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NEW YORK—Want to forget 2009? Shred it.

Scores of New Yorkers and tourists seeking a fresh start in 2010 came to Times Square on Monday to put their bad memories through the shredder at the third annual Good Riddance Day.

Ben Winnick of Simsbury, Conn., shredded a newspaper story about the New York Giants' 41-9 loss Sunday to the Carolina Panthers, which ended the Giants' playoff hopes.

"Hopefully, next season will be better," he said.

Roxanne Rodriguez of Manhattan shredded a piece of paper with "Writer's block" written on it. She intends to buckle down and write a musical.

"This is going to be the year I'm going to be dedicated and focused, and I will get something down on the page every day," she promised.

The winner of a $250 prize for most creative item shredded was 12-year-old Alissa Yankelevits of Los Angeles, who is visiting her grandparents in New York. She shredded the memory of a counselor on a school trip who was later featured on the TV show "America's Most Wanted."

"I just spent a week with him," Alissa said. "It was really terrifying because I just found that out."

Good Riddance Day was organized by the Times Square Alliance as part of the buildup to Thursday's ball-drop celebration.

Participants lined up near the booth where discount theater tickets are sold and pitched their bad memories into an industrial-sized shredder. A Dumpster and a sledgehammer were available for items that couldn't be shredded, which included an old computer and a tin of fattening office snacks.

Some shredded reams of bills and correspondence while others sought to banish the memory of former boyfriends and girlfriends.

Gillian Lyons broke up with a man she calls "the Beastmaster" and said she's been waiting for him to return her possessions for two years. "He won't give me back the TV I paid for," she complained.

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