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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

A pause that refreshes…

For awhile this evening, I sat at the table and watched the sunset, a huge red-orange globe that fired the skies over New Jersey with a light that was broken by grey clouds scudding across the horizon. The rich orange sunset was reminiscent of the sunsets I remember from Los Angeles, which, because of the smog, always had the most beautiful sunsets.

It was a quiet, reflective few minutes, sitting there, watching the day slip into evening over Ellis Island. Ferries plied the waters between Manhattan and New Jersey, taking Wall Street workers back to New Jersey so they could be with their children tonight while barges moved goods down the Hudson.

It’s Halloween and all through my building little ghouls and witches and wizards are marching through the corridors, moving from apartment to apartment, collecting their treats and not performing tricks. And all across the country, little ghouls and witches and wizards are scurrying down sidewalks and up to doors, screeching: Trick Or Treat!

While I write this I’m watching the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village on the television and it looks warm and friendly and fun filled. There is a wonderful campaign for AMC that is all over New York – and I’m assuming other places – with posters of coffee pots, one labeled regular, one labeled decaf and the last one labeled blood. It’s to publicize a week of horror films leading up to tonight.

We live in frightening times but it’s fun to leaven that fear with frightful films.

In the streets of the city there is a sense of fun and playfulness. Elvira, Mistress of the Night, is a centerpiece of tonight’s parade, her first in New York City – and, she says, “it almost beats Los Angeles.”

That brought a smile to me. As a lover of both cities, I always find myself at New York parties being the Los Angeles defender, whenever the crowd turns condescending to my former home. One of the joys of my life has been to have lived in both places and to love both of them.

I feel at home here in New York and I feel at home in Los Angeles. The moment I get off the plane in L.A. and in my rental car and head up to the city from the airport, I feel like I’ve come home. I enjoy this sense of “homeness” in the two great American cities [and god knows I’ll be in trouble with lots of people for that one] and I enjoy defending Los Angeles to New Yorkers who don’t know the place.

But I have to do it much less than I used to – New Yorkers are much better [or at least around me] about any cross country rivalry than they used to be.

All of this says to me that tonight, for a moment in time, we can be relaxed, think about other things, focus on the fun. The sniper has been caught in D.C. It doesn’t feel like we’re going to go to war next week. We have a breather for a moment in the national consciousness to think about things like city rivalries, the fun of seeing Elvira, watching Uncle Sam and Betsey Ross trot down the street hand in hand.

Cyndi Lauper rode on a car top down the avenue as the Snow Queen, unrecognized by the denizens of the Village that had helped make her famous.

We are experiencing a moment of innocence and forgetfulness in a time that has been psychically hard on all of us – and it feels damn fine.