The elegant Victorian Bevin Mansion sits on a point jutting into Northport Bay, on the peninsular village of Asharoken, Long Island. It’s here, staring into Duck Island Harbor, that author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote the majority of his classic novella, Le Petit Prince during the summer of 1942. Just a few miles south, the town library has honored this local literary figure with a statue of the Little Prince.
The piece is cast in bronze, a three-foot, three-dimensional likeness of the character. It sits in the library’s courtyard, and is the only version of the statue in existence, the molds having been intentionally destroyed after casting in order to ensure this Little Prince remains a one-of-a-kind.
The beloved character ended up welcoming visitors to the library through the efforts of another French expatriate, a Northport local named Yvette Cariou O’Brien. O’Brien worked tirelessly with the de Saint-Exupéry estate to secure permission to create the work, and in 2006 it was unveiled.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ended up in Northport having left occupied France after its fall to German forces at the start of World War II. Although he lived in Manhattan, the noise and heat of a New York City summer wasn’t exactly encouraging for the writer and his poignant, philosophical creation. That’s what houses by the sea and good libraries are for.