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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Choosing A Place; Making A Stand

The trip down the Hudson River, from the city of Hudson to New York City, is always spectacularly beautiful -- but even more so in the glitter and glimmer of the changing of summer to fall, fall to winter. The route is framed on either side by the leaves, evolving from green to muted gold – a softer gold this year than last year’s wild cacophony of color.

The Hudson River is as wide as the Mississippi, on whose banks I grew up, and as beautiful as any stretch of that river. It is more beautiful to me because it is the river I have chosen as opposed to the river I was given.

Speculation is that the wetness of the year has caused the colors to be transmuted, paler than the year before, softer and more exhausted.

This week, as I was leaving to go into the city, Rick, the Hudson City Taxi driver, who regularly fetches me on Monday mornings, and I discussed the upcoming Hudson elections, which have merited attention in the New York Times. It is a classic case, it seems, of a newbies and townies, those who have chosen this piece of river and this place against those who were born and raised there.

I am part of the ones who have chosen to settle in the area. When it became apparent we were not going to return to Los Angeles after the tech bust, we began to look around for a home, a place to settle, to call our own. Everything before had been dictated by the demands of my job[s]. Now we were free to choose.

We looked around, exploring Columbia County, because of a tip. We went, we saw, we bought and we have settled in. This is our home, the place we return to from all journeys. A place we have chosen and have come to love far more than we had expected. What started as a place to gather our scattered possessions and our disorganized lives, has become the place we will remain. We hope never again to pack up boxes and take these things, our beloved “stuff” to any more places. We have fallen in love with the place, the way people do when they have decided it is time to finish wandering – as we both have. Tripp spent years in the Air Force, moving from base to base. I fled my mid-western home in search of the larger world and have managed to fulfill most of my travel fantasies, moving around, restlessly, seeing many cities and countries.

I fell into living in Los Angeles; I did not make a conscious choice. After several years of being there I thought I had better register to vote. Later, I accepted a job in Washington, D.C. but had no great desire to live there. I took a job in the Pacific Northwest, where, isolated from the civilization I had come to know, discovered I really could not live anywhere.

And that began our search for somewhere – though I’m not sure we knew it then. After a year in Los Angeles, James Green, who was the CEO of the company I was working for, asked me to come join him in New York. As one of the two best human beings for whom I have worked, I followed, much to Tripp’s chagrin at the time. But east we came. The tech bubble burst; I ended unemployed and had to figure where to go next.

As it came about, next was where I was. My consulting practice began to build; Tripp found a job he liked, followed by one he loved. We went to Columbia County to look for a hideaway and found a home.

As I live in Claverack, not Hudson, I will not be a participant in the city elections. But the tensions and the issues that are facing the city are the same that are facing the region. We, the newcomers, are changing the landscape of the region, buying up homes and building businesses that are defining a future that is a different place from the past.

Rick said this morning that the decisions made now will be shaping the city in the years to come – and no matter what, it will be a different little city than it is now.

It is true of Columbia County; it is true in California where voters have chosen to boot out Davis and replace him with Arnold. It is true of the decisions we will be making in the months to come when we decide whether or not to give “W” a second term.

Locally and nationally, globally, in fact, we are at a crossroads and as much as in any time, decisions we make now will reverberate awesomely into the future.