Classified Information

Classified Information

T he “for sale” section of New Haven’s Craigslist is a war zone. 44,000+ classifieds are currently fighting each other for eyeballs and dollars, while the people with those eyeballs and dollars fight each other for the good stuff.

Here’s a dispatch from the trenches, especially useful for entrepreneurs, collectors and overall risk-takers:

Forget used cars or furniture; you can buy whole businesses. A bright-red vendor’s cart with a hatch and display window—good for hawking hot dogs or flowers, according to the listers—is selling for $2,500. A photo booth franchise is available for $8,900. A 10,000-square-foot hardwood gym in Middletown is marked at $25,000. Somewhere in-county, a liquor store’s going for $75,000, a gas station’s tagged for $99,900, several restaurants are priced up to $249,000 and a car wash is up for twice that much.

For a cool $1.6 million, you can even buy the huge, regal, historic bank building at 45 Church Street—former home of the 1857-opened Connecticut Savings Bank, the ghost of its letters still crossing the high front “mantel” of the building (pictured very partially above)—then turn it into whatever you can get a permit for. With an ornate, 180-degree, round-arched ceiling over a cavernous main room; an original bank vault polished to a serious shine; marble everywhere you look; and 23,000 square feet total between first, second and third floors—not even counting a “huge basement with high ceilings”—eight-fifths of a million seems like a bargain, if you can afford it in the first place.

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Something you can probably afford is a comic book, and as luck would have it, a longtime collector in Milford is “bored and looking to deal” some of his away. Selling individually or in bulk, he’s trimming his collection of 4,000 books, which range “from early pulp to newer comics” and date back at least as far as the 1950s. Promising “great deals” and that “you won’t be disappointed,” he doesn’t list individual issues, but photos show plastic-encased issues starring, among many others, pop heroes from DC Comics—Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern—and characters recently re-popularized by DC archrival Marvel and its wildly successful film forays: Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, plus the soon-to-be-silver-screening Ant-Man and Doctor Strange.

Back here in New Haven, not far from the Dixwell/Goffe/Whalley convergence, someone’s selling Captain America and the Avengers, a z-axis sidescroller arcade game replete with 8-bit music, multiple heroes to choose from and explosions that sound like a lapel mic’s been set too close to the fabric. The seller’s also got a host of other arcade games—some working, some not, the listing says—including the infamous shooter Revolution-X, a 1994 game that took a generic resistance plot and inexplicably thrust the band Aerosmith into the mix. Guitars wailing and drums pounding behind nearly constant machine gun sounds, rock legend Steven Tyler shouts encouragements over the action and occasionally makes pixellated cameos.

Other music greats appear in a New Haven sale of 16 autographed guitars—signed by the likes of “Dylan, McCartney, Zeppelin” and the Eagles—prompted by a “divorce liquidation.” Ouch for the sellers, but not for you: with certificates of authenticity and appraisals between $1,850 and $3,725, the guitars are being offered for only $575 a pop, further tagged as “negotiable” at that.

Over in Stratford, a caps-lock-happy former DJ is selling a very large but very narrow record collection: “ALL VINYL / EARLY 2000-2005 / MOSTLY ALL DANCE / HIGH ENERGY / SOME TECHNO / ABOUT 2,000 RECORDS / GOOD CONDITION.” For the measly asking price of 500 bucks, you could be dancing ’til 2020.

Believe it or not, you can find even zanier propositions than buying a collection of 2,000 early-millennium dance records. One guy, for instance, inks tattoos out of his New Haven apartment. Promising that all of his equipment is sterilized, he offers a menu of options culminating in a “tap-out” deal—where, for a $200 flat fee, he’ll tattoo you for as long as you can stand the pain. He even has a couples’ option, for which he’ll add just $50 to the bill.

Even if a private-residence, all-you-can-take, cut-rate couple’s tattoo session isn’t your idea of fun, you have to admit: in the cutthroat war to stand out on Craigslist New Haven, this one’s a winner.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories, helped in no small part by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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