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Correction History Quests Hq
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David Minor, Eagle-eyed Researcher With Byte

NYCHS webmaster note: David Minor of Eagles Byte Historical Research, Pittsford, NY (dminor@eznet.net) has long been a resource for -- and contributor of -- historical information appearing on our NYCHS web site. His own Eagles Byte web site includes NYNY, a series of timelines covering New York City and State. Here are some bio notes on David Minor who may have come up with the answer to how NYC DOC's punitive segregation cells came to be called The Bing.

Born in Batavia, New York, April 17, 1940; graduated from Batavia High School in 1958.
[David Minor
David Minor and Emita II at a stop during a NYS Canal
Society-sponored cruise on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal
connecting those two lakes. Emita II is the flagship
of the Midlakes Navigation Co., Skaneateles.

Mother a concert harpist; father a photographer.

BFA in Advertising Design from Syracuse University in 1962.

Two-year certificate program at the American Academy of Dramatic Art, 1969.

Worked for New York Telephone/NYNEX, 1970-1990, mostly in Manhattan.

Earned Masters degree in Media Studies at New School for Social Research during the period. Odd film courses here and there at NYU.

Peripherally interested in history since junior high school.

Influenced by the Benedict Arnold novels of Kenneth Roberts, began gathering material for a screenplay on Arnold (says "maybe I'll get back to it some one of these days").
Did David Slay Goliath Quiry:
How 'The Bing' Began?

Quest Tag: "The Bing"

NYC COs have long used the term "The Bing" as a nickname for the cells where unruly inmates are kept in locked - down status around the clock except brief times out for daily exercise, religious services, medical care, and attorney visits, etc.

Safeguards have evolved over the years to prevent the punitive unit reverting to the harsh treatment inflicted in bygone eras. In that dim past the term "The Bing" came into use but why?

History researcher David Minor checked US and UK regional dictionaries and noted how some said the term often meant "to go, or escape." The highly restrictive nature of Bing confinement seems the opposite of "escape," so Minor was not satisfied. He dug deeper and found the following in a Scottish dictionary -- n. a bin or box for corn, wine, etc.

Could a Scottish word for a box or a bin have found its way into NYC jail jargon to describe the punitive cells for disruptive inmates? Consider how in the past the punishment isolation cell was called the box in some prisons.

Let us know what you think: email webmaster@ correctionhistory.org

Started compiling information, computerizing it in the 1980s, and went online with a web site in the mid-1990s.

Other favorites among authors - Thomas B. Costain, Pierre Berton, Allan W.Eckert, Peter C. Newman, Arch Merrill, Henry Clune, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Stephen Ambrose, Patrick O'Brian, David McCullough and Carl Carmer.

Married to Joann Mangefrida of Le Roy, New York, in 1967. Re children, he says "Two-legged - none; four-legged (of the canine persuasion) - four, over the years."

Member of Canal Society of New York State, New Society of the Genesee, and Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Published in Crooked Lake Review, American Canals and ("looking ahead to 2004 -- The Encyclopedia of New York State.")

Weekly history commentator on WXXI, Rochester's PBS FM station (91.5).

Maintains an expanding 25+ Megabyte offline chronology of World History.

Available services: Online research for novelists, history authors (currently the Seneca Falls - and beyond - mystery novels of Miriam Grace Monfredo) and furnishing world timelines.

A key idea: Every person, place or object has a story. You just have to dig it out. Also: The film version's usually much less interesting than what really happened.

Operates Eagles Byte web site at http://home.eznet.net/~dminor featuring:

  • NYNY, a constantly expanding timeline of New York City and State history, from the glacial period down to 1990 (it's been called "epic");
  • his PBS radio scripts from 1997 on (a wide range of subject matter, with threads on early New York and on the Great Lakes);
  • a links page to assorted history sites;
  • back issues of Odds & Ends,
  • an article/newsletter publication for the years 1995-1998; and
  • an index to various New York history groups, exhibits and lectures.

To be put on the mailing list for his weekly TimeMaster PBS radio scripts, as well as news of updates to my homepage, e-mail him at dminor@eznet.net

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