A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 20, 2006
“Mayor’s Eye” & “Get the worms out of the Big Apple” (Dept. of Investigation)
The Department of Investigation began in the 1870s, after many city scandals. The early version of the DOI wasn't very active.

Raymond B. "Fearless" Fosdick was appointed commissioner in 1910 and changed the agency with his vigorous enforcement. He called his department "the Mayor's eye" in 1911.

"Get the worms out of the Big Apple" is a 1990s DOI slogan that is still in use today.

Our Mission

The New York City Department of Investigation ("DOI") is one of the oldest law-enforcement agencies in the country and an international leader in the effort to combat corruption in public institutions. It serves the Mayor and the people of New York City by acting as an independent and nonpartisan watchdog for New York City government.

DOI's major functions include investigating and referring for prosecution cases of fraud, corruption and unethical conduct by City employees, contractors and others who receive City money. We are also charged with studying agency procedures to identify corruption hazards and recommending improvements in order to reduce the City's vulnerability to fraud, waste and corruption. We investigate backgrounds of persons selected to work in decision-making or sensitive City jobs, and VENDEX those who do business with the City, to determine if they are suited to serve the public trust.

The enormous range of this docket means that DOI handles at any one time hundreds of complaints. Every week, in fact, almost every day, the agency's work is punctuated by in-coming matters including "911" type situations that require the immediate high level of attention of a cadre of top flight investigators and members of the executive staff.

Raymond B. ("Fearless") Fosdick appointed as DOI Commissioner - first to describe Office as "the Mayor's eye."

19 February 1911, New York Times, pg. 4:

Commissioner of Accounts Tells
City Club How He Watches
All the Departments.


And Could Save More if the Estimate
Board Would Give Him a
Larger Appropriation.

Commissioner of Accounts Raymond B. Fosdick explained to the City Club at its luncheon yesterday exactly what his department does and what it might do if it received a larger appropriation from the Board of Estimate. In introducing him Robert A. Brinkhead described Mr. Fosdick as the man who was making his office an increasing terror to those who look on public office as an opportunity for private advantage rather than public service.

The Commissioner pointed out that the office was created in 1873 as a means to check collusion between the Controller's and Chamberlain's offices, a method of graft by which William M. Tweed profited. It was for thirty-five years, however, so inactive that it was regarded as a comfortable berth for a wornout party hack.
"The duty of the Commissioner is, in fact to be the Mayor's eye, to keep watch over the 35 departments and 60,000 employes, and the people's eye, to let them know what goes on inside the departments. In addition, it is trying to discover the cost of misgovernment and to bring out that if money is spent on an illegitimate object there is just so much less for public improvements or charities."

28 March 2003, New York Times, "A Watchdog Who Welcomes the Spotlight's Glare" by Lynda Richardson, pg. D4:
ROSE GILL HEARN, the New York City commissioner of investigation, has her arms tightly folded as she sits in her Maiden Lane office.
Ms. Hearn came up with the agency's new slogan, "Get the worms out of the Big Apple." (Madison Avenue to Ms. Hearn: Keep your day job!)

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Names/Phrases • Tuesday, June 20, 2006 • Permalink

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