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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

There is a rhythm to my week; a rhythm that is punctuated by Thursday
evenings, when I sit down to write my column. It is a discipline that has become
familiar and for which I am grateful - it forces me to put words to thoughts and

Last Friday morning, after sending in my column, I went, as usual, to the
office and worked on my clients' affairs, helping them figure out programming
needs at cable nets and translating those needs into specific proposals.

Then, about 3:45 I packed up my knapsack and began my walk over to Penn
Station where I caught the 4:35 upstate. It is a weekly rhythm and one that I love.

On Saturday morning of this last week, I went out to do errands. Not
unusual, and part of the rhythm of Claverack life. I drove down 23, going west,
heading toward Hudson, past the gentle, stately homes lining the road, all echoing
the county's Dutch/New England heritage. 23 is a road overhung by great, old
trees that are vulnerable to the wild storms that have run through Columbia
County this year.

It was on Saturday that I innocently set out to do my Saturday errands,
driving through patches of sun bursting through the dark clouds that promised rain.

As I drove down 23, past my favorite brick Dutch Colonial house, something
happened. For a moment, a brief moment, triggered by I don't know what - a
sound on the radio, a stray thought I hadn't caught - whatever, suddenly, I found
myself sobbing. For a moment I was once again on Spring Street and West
Broadway, September 11th, 2001, and the Towers were burning and the crowds were
streaming up the street, coughing and sobbing or looking quietly stricken, bereft
of words.

I had had a flashback. And it startled me. I felt I was supposed to be
beyond this, two years, almost, later.

But I wasn't. It was there. It was real. It was present.

And then, regaining control, I went on my way. Did my errands, performed my
functions and was "normal" again.

I did not tell Tripp of what happened on 23. Nor did I mention it on
Saturday evening when we went to our friends Larry and Alicia's for dinner. Nor have
I mentioned it to anyone, until tonight, when I am writing about it.

What right, I wondered, had I to a flashback? I only lived there; losing
little except the innocence that all of us lost.

Yet, there it was; a huge moment for me on a bucolic county road.

Thinking I was completely whole with two years ago but, at the end of the
day, I'm not - and I'm sure I'm not alone.

This whole week, since then, I have done all the New York things that make
being here so special. I went to a screening of THE LATIN KINGS, on HBO this
week. [Watch it, if you can.] Jon Alpert produced it and it is an incisive
look inside the gang world.

I went to Seth's Chatterbox at DON'T ASK MAMA, where every week Seth Rudesky
interviews someone from the Broadway world. This week it was Marin Mazzie,
who is playing Dulcinia in MAN OF LA MANCHA.

The talk of the town is about California and its Governor race. The papers
are making all the logical jokes about Arnold, Larry Flynt, Gary Coleman,
Angelyne and all the rest of the cast of characters who are lining up to replace
Grey Davis.

We went to dinner at a local restaurant down the street, where at the bar,
the talk was of terror attacks on the ferries, the newest fear running through
the city. This was the first I'd heard of it but not the first it had been
heard by Tripp. Apparently, it is the talk of downtown - only natural, since it
is downtown the ferries serve the most.

Glitter and bright lights, country roads and open fields, fear and

Welcome to the Big City; welcome to the Empire State. Upstate. Downstate. I
am part of both.