NEW YORK - Want to forget 2009? Shred it.
Scores of New Yorkers and tourists seeking a fresh start in 2010 came to Times Square yesterday 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 that 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.