By Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — There's a new face at Madison Square Park.
ECHO, a new art installation by sculptor Jaume Plensa, officially opened Thursday on the main lawn of the park at the foot of the Flatiron building.
The massive, 44-foot-tall sculpture depicts the head and face of a 9-year-old girl who lives near Plensa's home in Barcelona, Spain. Named after the Greek nymph Echo, the girl is portrayed in a dream-like state, according to Plensa, and is meant to be "a monument to everyday people."
"If in the myth of the nymph Echo, she was forced by the goddess to repeat the words uttered by others, in my project, the head becomes a mirror in where people can see themselves," Plensa said in a statement.
"With Echo, I aim to create a new intimate place in the heart of New York City, in where we can finally repeat the real words of our souls," he added.
The piece, which is made of white marble gel-coated fiberglass resin, was designed specifically for the site, and is the largest piece of art to don the square in the Mad. Sq. Art program’s 7-year history.
"I love it. It feels like a hologram in real life," said Stephen Stanczyk, 49, who lives on the Upper West Side and was one of several dozen tourists and locals who stopped by to photograph the sculpture at all angles Wednesday night.
"It’s just wild. It’s kind of ghost-like," he said. "It has a very two-dimensional quality."
Aron Baxter, 41, who lives in the East Village and works nearby said he’d seen a photograph of the sculpture and just had to come and check it out.
"It’s pretty unique," he said.
But while it's impressive by day, he advised viewers to come by at night.
"There’s so much to distract you during the day," he said. "It seems more impressive at night because it’s illuminated."
ECHO will be on display through August 14.