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The Case of New Canaan's Pink Winky Faces

Updated 3:50 pm, Thursday, February 21, 2013

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  • A mysterious pink winky face at Park and Cherry Streets in New Canaan. Photo: Tyler Woods
    A mysterious pink winky face at Park and Cherry Streets in New Canaan. Photo: Tyler Woods

 

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Have you noticed the pink (or purple, it's arguable) winking faces affixed to more and more trees along some of New Canaan's most traveled roads?

The faces, with eyes like quotation marks and feminine pursed lips, are painted on roughly 2-inch-thick circular slices of trees, and have been spotted nailed onto trees along South and East avenues and on Park Street.

An explanation has not been revealed, though someone claiming to be the individual responsible has been anonymously communicating with the newspapers in Greenwich.

A letter obtained by the Greenwich Citizen from a person who purports to be the individual responsible says he or she lives in Greenwich but is branching out to other towns.

"My name is Pryha (Please Remember Your Health Always). I represent that person in everyones (sic) life to whom they promised they would take care of themselves and their loved ones. I may be a mother to some, an aunt to another, a father or friend to someone else," the letter reads. "You will see me here, there and everywhere to remind you to keep your word -- be diligent, and please remember your health always. Wish me Luck, Pryha"

In Greenwich, the tree warden announced that such activity carries a $50 maximum fine for harming the trees, according to the Greenwich Citizen article.

New Canaan's tree warden, Bruce Pauley, takes a bit more relaxed stance.

"There's no established fines for things like that (here)," Pauley said. "I have not received complaints. I've seen some on South Avenue. It sort of reminds me of Betty Boop, the face. While it's never a good idea to injure a tree, if it's one nail, it's pretty insignificant. They'd do more damage if they missed the nail and hit the bark with a hammer."

The New Canaan Health Department had not heard of the faces and had no comment.

Susan LaPerla, interim co-director of the New Canaan Library, said she and other library staff have seen the faces but didn't know anything about them.

Recently, after seeing coverage of the faces in the Greenwich Citizen, Pryha responded.

"I was thrilled to see the article in the Greenwich Citizen. It was quite a surprise. I was, however, a little disappointed that the reporter Anne chose to call the tree warden to ask what he thought of someone putting a nail in trees. What else could a tree warden say but that he did not appreciate that? Human beings have been nailing notices to trees without detriment for centuries ... I am hoping to branch out universally with this effort. Already I am in other towns, cities and states, albeit Greenwich is my home. Appreciatively, Pryha"

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews