Updated 12/28/2011 05:39 PM
New Yorkers, Visitors Bid "Good Riddance" To 2011
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New Yorkers and tourists made way for the new year by destroying their bad memories in Times Square Wednesday as part of the city's fifth-annual Good Riddance Day.
Participants could either shred or smash the things they would rather leave behind in 2011.
"Anything that you write on a piece of paper goes into this shredder and actually everything gets recycled so eventually your ex-boyfriend will turn into a paper cup or a toilet paper," said Lori Raimondo of the Times Square Alliance. "And if it's a physical object we have this here so if you want to destroy that cellphone or a chair that's just been so uncomfortable, you can come here, take this mallet. We'll give you safety goggles and you just pummel it."
Among those on hand Wednesday was Katie Selman, the winner of an online contest held by document management company Cintas. Selman says she threw away military deployment papers for her husband, wishing good riddance to long military deployments so her five kids can spend more time with their dad.
"2011 was a really tough year for us, since we actually had my husband deployed to the Middle East and my brother deployed to the Middle East," Selman said.
"It's always good when you can be home with your kids, and your wife of course, especially a beautiful woman like this you know, sitting around in a bunch of sand is no fun, it's a lot more fun being back home," said Selman's husband, U.S. Army Major Steve Selman.
In a touching moment, Robert Santoriella pulverized a container his son with cancer used when he was sick to his stomach during treatments. The boy has since improved after a bone marrow transplant from his twin brother.
"We haven't needed that in quite some time, so I smashed it to pieces today," Santoriella said.
Cintas, the company that provided the shredding machines, says it is going to pass the materials on to a paper company where they will be recycled into tissue paper, toilet paper, paper cups, and other paper products.
For more information, visit timessquarenyc.org.
Programming Note: NY1 invites viewers to ring in 2012 with the channel's live reports from Times Square. Just before the ball drops, NY1 will let viewers experience the sights and sounds uninterrupted. The "Countdown To 2012" special begins at 11 p.m. Saturday.