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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

End of One Year/Beginning Another

The first thing I want to say is that this year has gotten off to a grand start! No bombs went off on the North American Continent. I believe we all breathed a collective sigh of relief on Thursday morning when it dawned without smoke.

But bombs did go off in other places. Baghdad had a blow up and there was one in Indonesia. A series of flights were cancelled or turned around or re-screened when they arrived. But as far as we know, there was nothing to all of it.

While we have been holding our breath, the media has been pummeling the world with their decisions on the great moments of 2003.

I have been working on sorting out the kinds of things that were important to me as the year ended.

Most importantly, I think of the friends who are part of my life, people like Chuck and Lois, who have been lovely friends to me over the years, accepting me, accepting Tripp, accepting all the twists and turns of my life – yet the only time I think I saw them was in New Orleans for a quick lunch at NATPE a year ago.

There are friends like Alicia and Larry that we have managed to see more frequently, including some major holidays. There are friends like Tom, who has known me since high school; every year we grab a reunion weekend somewhere. And, of course, there is Christine who dated my college roommate. Neither of us knows where he is but we found each other again after college and have stayed close.

I find myself treasuring my storyteller friend Sarah who lives now in New Mexico and will be coming to New York to perform her stories at the United Nations. There is not a moment in my life in which I have been conscious of being alive that Sarah and her family have not been part of my life.

So as one year ends and another begins, its friends I find myself saluting. The threads of our lives are people.

And places.

Downtown New York is springing back to life with a steady beat, against a backdrop of sadness that won’t go away. It will never be the same nor should it be. Too much has happened but, like London after the Blitz, it will heal and while those of us alive that day still live, we will keep it alive, in our memories and our hearts and will never stop thinking of it as we watch the new be built where once the old stood.

Hudson and Claverack continue to grow; businesses come and businesses go but most of all it all seems to be tracking upwards. A rumor has spread that Starbucks is coming, surely a sign of growing urbanity.

My sense of my Americanism has been tested this year by world events I don’t completely understand nor completely trust. The talk of American Empire makes me uncomfortable while I seek to comprehend the manner in we are strutting on the world stage these days.

We have brought down a government, and are now faced with the responsibility of rebuilding a country. We have trapped Saddam Hussein but can’t find Osama Bin Laden – and he is the one who started this all.

There have been a march of people who have walked off the stage this year, from those I knew, if only a little, like Rod Roddy, to John Ritter, to Art Cooper who was the editor of GQ when my fashion sense was being formed by it.

But I have thankfully not suffered the loss this year of anyone close. Our homes are safe, my partner is fine, the creek flows smoothly and the sky and stars last night made the universe seem a wonderful place.

It is people and places that hold us.

May all your people and places be safe in the coming year!