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The Little Prince in New York City

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Antoine de Saint-Exupery, drawing for the Little Prince. Photograph by Graham S. Haber. Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

Lit Nerd Wednesday!

The Little Prince is hardly a book that suggests New York City but in reality it has a lot to do with it. Conceived by Antoine de Saint-Exupery from his doodles, the idea of the character was quite possibly influenced by Charles and Ann Linbergh’s son Land — Saint-Exupery were good friends with the Lindeberghs up until WWII when they parted ways over involvement in the war. Suggested by a friend to use the drawing as a catalyst for the story, he began writing it in Northport, Long Island and at various locations around Manhattan including an apartment at Beekman Place and finally a residence at 240 Central Park South — evidence of his chaotic working habits.

Before moving to New York City in 1940, Saint-Exupery was a pilot as well as a writer but the Nazi occupation of France clipped his wings. Shortly after publication of The Little Prince in 1943, he went off to fly reconnaissance missions for the Allies when his plane vanished without a trace in southern France — 64 years later, wreckage and his ID bracelet were discovered along the shores.

What: The Little Prince

Who: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Where: 240 Central Park South

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