Image: Times Square shredder
Mary Altaffer  /  AP
Tom Tompkins with the Times Square Alliance shreds Tiger Woods headlines on Monday in New York's Times Square.
updated 12/28/2009 7:07:25 PM ET 2009-12-29T00:07:25

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 Connecticut 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.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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