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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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


There is a big difference between staying someplace and living somewhere. I've stayed lots of places. I've only lived in a few.

This past week I was walking from lunch, across town to the west side of Manhattan, to go to Splashpoint, a photo studio on the far west side, near the Hudson. There I was meeting Ceslie Armstrong, the Editor In Chief for a magazine called GRACE. We had a meeting about a project.

Somewhere between 8th and 9th Avenues, it hit me with piercing clarity. I live in New York; I'm not just staying here. I have an apartment in the city, a house in the country, my partner is here, has a job he loves, we have friends, and I'm doing interesting work… I have a life, in a fullness and completeness that I enjoy, wildly.

And I am living in a city where the unusual is the usual.

It was the same morning that on the 6 train, a gentleman dressed as a horse and cowboy [one actor/one costume, combining both] jumped aboard the subway and began to serenade the passengers with Patagonian love songs. When he passed his hat, I suspect his take was low because he scared the bejesus out of most us when he came on, bellowing at the top of his lungs, with no time to adjust.

It was the morning after riding the same train when a woman stood from her seat, forgetting that she was on one of the new trains and her particular seat snapped up with a BANG! if you didn't hold it back. She forgot, it BANGED! and everyone jumped.

With a very apologetic look on her face, she said to everyone, "I'm sorry. I forgot it would bang! I'm very sorry, you know, because of all that has been going on…"

Once we were off our defribulators we smiled at her and nodded her on her way. We're a little jumpy in New York. After all, we have just arrested someone who intended to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently just an ordinary truck driver living in the midst of us who had a life changing encounter with Osama bin Laden sometime in the past.

To earn my living I do a variety of things, including developing and selling television programs.

This brings me into contact with interesting things and people. For example, I spent Thursday morning visiting with Mama Gena, of Mama Gena's School Of The Womanly Arts. She teaches women to appreciate the power of their sexuality. "Pussy Power!" is the Academy's mantra and graduates matriculate in lingerie and high heels.

Perhaps I should have seen this coming as earlier in the week I met with Jon Alpert, twelve time Emmy winner, on a project. We were discussing medical projects.

He told me about a corporate medical video on gynecology he had done for which he'd eventually had to hire a professional vagina. It appears that there are actors in New York who, between acting gigs, rent out parts of their bodies so medical students can use the "real thing." She shared with Jon she made about $60,000 a year as a professional vagina and it was a pleasure, I'm sure, for her to be doing something on camera.

You can imagine where the conversation went from there…

Jon has just returned from Iraq, where someone was killed standing next to one of his crew and where he had a car hijacked from under him.

Jon seems to like this kind of thing.

He is now in La Paz, following a Bolivian coca lord but he couldn't leave until he captured on tape the surrender to authorities of a criminal he's been following for twenty years. This time he's going away for life. But before he got sent away, he went on a final fling that included a great deal of time in a very small bathroom with prostitutes, illegal substances and some needles.

This has been a week when I have simply reveled in the absurdity, diversity and adversity of life in this city and the life I'm leading in it.