Whether it’s shredded evidence or a wish for the new year, confetti now comes loaded with expectations.
out with the old…
For New Yorkers with excess baggage to shed before leaping into the New Year, there’s nothing like a good public shredding, or even better, a sledge-hammer, to clear the air. Yes, a quiet moment to mentally let go of what ever ills are holding you back would do the trick. Or a few deep breaths and a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. But where’s that broadway moment, that catharsis we’ve come to expect?
In Manhattan, that painful break-up, the shameful court battle and that embarrassing ‘reply-all’ email, are all best purged as part of a public celebration with hundreds of strangers (who can’t take sides).
Divorce papers, a paid off student loan, medical records and Hurricane Sandy insurance correspondence all turned to ticker-tape after being zipped through the shredder on December 28th, during The Times Square Alliance’s annual Good Riddance Day. With a rubber sledge hammer and an industrial sized dumpster also at your disposal, no embarrassment or irritation was too large. If you could carry it, you could dump it.
My plan was to go down to watch people shed the detritus of 2012 and then go into the Times Square Visitors Center’s Wishing Wall, to see what they were looking forward to for 2013. Unfortunately, with temperatures inching down to zero and two children in tow I couldn’t wait around in the plaza for the hour before the shredding. My wad of unconfessed receipts, plus those I’d ‘fessed up to but rounded down, would remain on my conscience for another year. Paltry baggage, I know, but shredders look fun.
In with the new….
We did however get to the Wishing Wall, a permanent pin-board that collects wishes from January 1st to December 31st every year. Wishes are collected every few days throughout the year and added to the confetti to be released over Times Square when the ball drops.
Whether all those of hopes and dreams are destined to soar for hours or be spiked on a stiletto, they’re another great testament to the city’s unique offer of anonymity through public exposure. No one knows who you are but potentially thousands know that you’re luckless in love, for example.
There were the confident wishers, those who went for specifics….
“To become a successful host/ actress with lots of money”
“To get into Princeton”
Then there were the truly hopefuls: Keep it general and it’s bound to work out in some form …
“To go on a date.”
“I hope I’ll smoke less and do more work.”
For the most part, the confetti categorized itself neatly into those three universal aspirations: health, wealth and finding love.
Wherever you are on Monday night, I wish you all of the above. If you happen to be in Times Square before the street sweepers early on Tuesday morning, and if your name is JB, look down. Someone with hasty handwriting wants you to marry them in 2013!