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An 'Unreal' Statue Arrives in Madison Square Park

Peeking through the blooming dogwoods in Madison Square Park is 44-foot-high white statue of a head. The sculpture, created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, is made of fiberglass resin and is modeled after the Greek myth of Echo. 

The statue, called "Echo," wears a serene expression on its face and seems to be a magnet for tots and camera phones. Children played around the statue on Thursday while nearly every passerby on his or her lunch break stopped to snap a photo. 

"Even the people who live here love it," said neighborhood resident Lisa Hin. She said that during the three-day installation process, she had noticed people escaping the office to snap photos and lunch near the statue.

The most common response to the statue, though seems unlikely for a structure that is tall enough to be seen from nearly every corner of the park. 

"It doesn't look like it's real," said Emily Kunhardt, echoing the opinions of several visitors checking out the sculpture. "It looks like you're seeing something that's not there." 

Regardless of impressions, Plensa's sculpture has been installed in the park and will be there through August 14. Check out a slideshow of photos of the sculpture below.

"In real life it looks like a statue and then on the camera it looks like it's fake," remarked Thomas Panlilio who was visiting from Los Angeles.
"In real life it looks like a statue and then on the camera it looks like it's fake," remarked Thomas Panlilio who was visiting from Los Angeles. ( Julia Furlan )
"For something that big to seem transparent when it's clearly quite solid is really astonishing," said Emily Kunhardt, seen here reading the sculpture's descriptor.
"For something that big to seem transparent when it's clearly quite solid is really astonishing," said Emily Kunhardt, seen here reading the sculpture's descriptor. ( Julia Furlan )
The Madison Square Park Conservancy rolled out what seemed like a green carpet (of grass) for the statue. It took three full days to install.
The Madison Square Park Conservancy rolled out what seemed like a green carpet (of grass) for the statue. It took three full days to install. ( Julia Furlan )
The statue was particularly popular with kids, who ran around the statue almost constantly.
The statue was particularly popular with kids, who ran around the statue almost constantly. ( Julia Furlan )
"It seems to be moving despite the fact that it's obviously a statue," one bystander commented while snapping a photo.
"It seems to be moving despite the fact that it's obviously a statue," one bystander commented while snapping a photo. ( Julia Furlan )
"She looks Asian," said Tammy Panlilio, seen here imitating the statue's placid expression. "And I should know, because I'm Asian."
"She looks Asian," said Tammy Panlilio, seen here imitating the statue's placid expression. "And I should know, because I'm Asian." ( Julia Furlan )
"It's nice because the kids play hide and seek," said Chandra Rattan, seen here with her charge Omar Baca.
"It's nice because the kids play hide and seek," said Chandra Rattan, seen here with her charge Omar Baca. ( Julia Furlan )
Toddler Eva Dawson enjoyed her time at the statue with her parents.
Toddler Eva Dawson enjoyed her time at the statue with her parents. ( Julia Furlan )
There was a perpetual crowd of tourists and New Yorkers alike.
There was a perpetual crowd of tourists and New Yorkers alike. ( Julia Furlan )
The statue has a braid going down the back.  Plensa modeled it after the nine-year-old daughter of a restaurant owner in his hometown of Barcelona.
The statue has a braid going down the back. Plensa modeled it after the nine-year-old daughter of a restaurant owner in his hometown of Barcelona. ( Julia Furlan )
"Echo" can be seen easily from outside the park. The color and size distinguish it from the Spring greenery around it.
"Echo" can be seen easily from outside the park. The color and size distinguish it from the Spring greenery around it. ( Julia Furlan )
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