In the waning days of 2020, people lined up at the Crossroads of the World to shred all that was wrong in a year many would like to forget.
The annual Good Riddance Day celebration was held in Times Square on Monday, a day reserved for shredding the grievances of the past and look forward to the future. But COVID changed even this tradition, as the dozens of people gathered in Times Square — wearing masks and socially distanced — were joined by crowds from around the world.
It was the first time in the 14 years that the event has been held that it was opened up to people outside of the typically jam-packed tourist destination.
Those who tuned in virtually also participated in the "holiday" by writing themes on paper, from loneliness to racism, the toilet paper shortage to outstanding bills, and them bidding them good riddance by placing them in the shredder. One person said they were bidding farewell to "too much Zoom and gloom," while another wanted to say goodbye to blended learning and, of course, COVID-19.
"I wrote about getting rid of my self-doubt, laziness and procrastination, and definitely emotional baggage," said Dominic Sama, of Long Branch, New Jersey.
"I'm shredding my bad memory on my rough three months of quarantine at my uncle's house," said East Flatbush resident Cedric Jean Louis.
The passion in Times Square was palpable as those who gathered smashed the piñata of terribleness that was 2020. But there was also some hope for 2021.
"Well, we had to cancel our honeymoon due to COVID-19, so we are hoping to shred that and maybe go this summer somewhere fun," said Greg Aschoff, of Roseland, New Jersey.
"I want to say good riddance to a full year of not seeing my family, because I'm originally from Germany and I didn't see them at all in 2020, and I hope to see them in 2021," said fellow Roseland resident Maureen Steinert.