Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, who once wrote, "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them," would have been 111 years old today. And while Saint-Exupéry was undeniably French, he did most of the work on his most famous book right here in New York.
In 1942, after a successful career as a pilot both with French Air Force and on his own—complete with a dramatic crash-landing in the Sahara Desert—Saint-Exupéry and his wife, Consuelo, moved to New York. They lived in a penthouse at 240 Central Park South, and later at 35 Beekman, before moving out to a rented mansion in Asharoken, Long Island. Saint-Exupéry wrote the manuscript for The Little Prince during his time in New York, drawing upon his time in the Sahara. The original autographed manuscript of the novella is held by the Morgan Library, which also has several watercolor illustrations from Saint-Exupéry that weren't included in later published versions.
in 1944, Saint-Exupéry disappeared in a mysterious plane crash over the Mediterranean. In 2009, the remains of his aircraft were finally found off the coast of France, a discovery described as "the holy grail" of aviation mysteries. Happy would-be birthday, Antoine!