Fleeting Wonders: Shredding the Worst of 2015 in Times Square - Atlas Obscura
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Fleeting Wonders: Shredding the Worst of 2015 in Times Square

A few things people hope to leave behind in 2016. (Photo: Countdown Entertainment)

Before welcoming 2016 with optimism and open arms, you’ve got to shred the worst of 2015. That’s the idea behind “Good Riddance Day,” an annual event held by New York’s Times Square Alliance that took place yesterday. 

Did 2015 bring any toxic exes? Bad bosses? Botched skydiving experiencesCrocodile attacksNecropants? Well, time to shred them all to bits. The event’s website says that Good Riddance Day was inspired by an Ecuadorian tradition that involves lighting effigies on fire in a mission to burn away the bad. You could think of it kind of like reverse resolutions.

What in your life would you like to say good riddance to? (Photo: Countdown Entertainment)

Hundreds of folks showed up to the ninth annual celebration with photos of past selves, medical bills, credit card statements, or even simply pieces of paper bearing the word “memory,” ready to “Shred-it and Forget it.” Some people brought objects, such as laptops or medicine bottles, and smashed them on the ground. People could also write down what they were discarding from their lives and post the messages for others to see. (For example, certain individuals would like to say good riddance to: “ghosting”; “hip replacement surgery”; “my crazy bad-tempered selfish coworker.”)

Confetti wishes for the 2016 wishing well. (Photo: Countdown Entertainment)

The event also involved a “New Year’s Eve Wishing Well” where visitors could drop in wishes for the new year scribbled on confetti. These wishes, and the shredded evils of 2015, will be sprinkled over crowds on New Years Eve. 

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.