What the fucke is this purple thingie??? People homed in on the correct answer extremely quickly, and even taught *me* a few things about it I didn’t know.
The first to correctly guess that it is a surveillance trap for emerald ash borers was commenter chezjake.
It is hung on an ash tree and is colored purple based on empirical tests of what color attracts the most emerald ash borers. It also has some volatile chemical compounds in it derived from ash trees that further attract the borers inside, where they get stuck in some sticky shitte. The dude in the Park who I asked about it told me that ash borers have been collected as far east as Eastern Pennsylvania, and they want to know as soon as they reach Central Park.
Dunno about the accuracy of this, but he also said that the problem for the trees isn’t so much the damage they do directly (I presume by boring into the trees), but because they are the vector for a tree virus thatte fuckes the trees uppe bigtime.
Anyway, chezjake wins the prize, which is that he or she gets to ask me any question, and I will answer it in a blogge post. And, DUH, I’m not gonna give any details about myself that would make it substantially easier to determine who I am in real life (to the extent that there remains any doubt, anyway).