I am finally the proud owner of this book!
I first became aware of Wilkes work several years ago. I was fascinated with the idea of photographing the buildings of Ellis Island as they are today: dilapidated, forgotten, and yet, hauntingly beautiful. At the time, Ghosts of Freedom retailed for $60. Then it went out of print, and the cheapest I could find it for on line was $100! Well, much as I wanted to add this to my collection, I'm not wasting a perfectly good Ben Franklin on a book that probably isn't worth that much, no matter how amazing the photography. :-) During my most recent trip to visit Lady Liberty I noticed they were selling it in the gift shop, but again, it was $100. Fast forward two days and we were traipsing through Greenwich Village (in the rain no less) looking for a used bookstore so my brother could buy a book on NY art deco for Le Girlfriend. A friend of his recommended a specific store, and let me tell you, it was quite the find. It was cramped, a bit dark, and seriously smelled like old books. The storekeeper was not the most friendly individual I've ever met and pretty much ignored us the entire time we were there. So much for the iconic NYC used bookstore experience depicted in the movies. Anyway, after doing a little browsing myself, I sat down to wait for my brother to make his selection, and it was then I saw it. Wilkes book was sitting right there in front of me. I may or may not have done an internal happy dance when I saw it was only $35!!! Naturally, I bought it...on the day we walked 42 blocks to Grand Central Station...in the rain. (We won't even talk about the shenanigans I went through to get it home in a suitcase with my other literary finds. Thank God for brothers who pack light.)