New Yorkers gather to shred bad memories of 2016

People line up in New York's Times Square to rid themselves of bad memories from the year, as the city prepares to usher in 2017.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - It's the annual good Riddance Day in New York's Time Square.

Crowds lined up to write down the things they want to leave behind them in 2016, and then toss it into a shredder.

The messages ranged from the poignant to the fanciful.

Many wanted to leave the memory of this year's bitter presidential campaign behind.

"I'm hoping for a different president and for Brexit not to happen. One can dream, no?" said Diana Balan, a 2016 Good Riddance Day participant.

"We're going to shred all the negative vibes from 2016 and hopefully we'll have a better, more united 2017," said another participant Nick Lanier. 

Organisers say the idea came from a Latin American tradition of beginning the New Year by setting fire to objects that represent bad memories. These people are getting a jump on that tradition and getting their bad memories out of the way before New Year's Eve, so they can begin 2017 on a positive note.