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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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Memorial Day Weekend

It is the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend. I have been living and working all week in Claverack, going into the city two days.

I have had a lovely time over the week. Monday and Tuesday the weather was warm and spring seemed to be happening, at last.

Tripp worked in the yard, planting ferns, Norway pines and hanging his hammock. He took the week as vacation while I worked from my home office, comfortably supported by my cable modem, my phone, my fax.

While sitting on the deck watching deer and geese lounging on the far bank of Claverack Creek, I did a conference call.

This week I received an e-mail from someone who told me that I paint a bleak picture of life in New York in my column.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time since I received that e-mail, wondering if I was painting too bleak a picture of life right now.

It is a harsh time for New York.

A call for more 9/11 kind of activity has been released by Osama’s Number Two. He mentioned the economic impact of that event.

He was right. The city is still reeling, if the country isn’t.

Add on to that the general economy sucks.

We’ve never been below an Orange on the terror scale.

One of our cabbies’s got arrested for trying to buy explosives from an undercover agent though it seems he was interested in using them in Miami. If he turns out to be a terrorist, he seemed intent on sharing the joy with a city other than ours.

The reputation of the venerable New York Times is tarnished by the Jayson Blair adventure.

A bomb apparently went off at Yale. Yale?

The weather has consistently been dark, cloudy, grey, cold…bleak.

But if I have painted too dark a portrait of the city and our collective lives, I must do some recanting.

All you need to do to bring a smile to your face is watch the news or read the papers.

Big news here was the new wax figure of Jennifer Lopez at Madame Tussaud’s on 42nd Street. That made every paper, including the front page of the Post [right next to the blaring headline: CITY ON EDGE].

Mayor Bloomberg announced on radio that he’d like to have dinner with Ms. Lopez. His girlfriend wouldn’t mind.

American Idol got huge play in the papers and on television. “Ruben’s the Rave” trumpeted the Post. I hadn’t a clue. I admit that once I watched an episode and thought: okey dokey, I get it.

I was unconscious that it had returned. Pretty un-American of me, I know.

Michael Jackson is back in the hospital and it didn’t make the front page. Scott Peterson continues to attract attention. I am pleased to know he is practicing yoga in his jail cell and reading Homer.

And, in what should have been a television special, the New York Times had six caterers plan a dream wedding for former Mayor Giuliani, which he wouldn’t be having because he’s getting married at his former residence, Gracie Mansion, all spiffed up with a makeover. Coulda been a ratings contender.

Okay, it’s bleak but it is also fun. All you have to do is look around, which only tourists do because if you’re a New Yorker, you are, by definition, in a hurry. If you’re not in a hurry, you’re obviously not a New Yorker.

But the sights are always astounding. Tuesday, at Penn Station, there was a man wearing very yellow polka dot pants, a bright red coat with an enormous hat of straw, topped by six balloons sticks which were swinging not balloons but bells.

No one paid any attention.

Now on Tuesday Penn Station was a little out of order because there had been a shut down due to a bio-terrorism investigation over something that turned out to be cooking oil. Trains were delayed three hours.

What was amazing to me was how calm everyone was about it. Grumbling, yes.

But New Yorkers are a resilient bunch. Signs declared delays because of police action. Panic? No. Alarm at the number of soldiers? No. Dismay at a character out of Oz? No.

Welcome to New York.