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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Letter from New York

December 16, 2004

Holiday Distractions…

While in a taxi, I looked out at the brightly lit buildings of New York and went: oh my god! We LIVE in New York. We live here in a very real, deep sense. We have an apartment in the city and we have an upstate home. We are deeply entrenched in both. I have told friends and family that we are more at home here than any of the other places we have been. Ever.

I have lived in Minneapolis, briefly in Toronto, in Illinois, back to Minneapolis, in Los Angeles, in Washington, D.C., in Eugene, Oregon, back to Los Angeles, to New York.

I have spent considerable amounts of time in Sydney, Australia, London, England, New Delhi, India, Paris, France, San Francisco, CA.

I have visited more countries than I remember though I haven’t seen Africa, except from a ship sailing by its northern coast. I haven’t been to Russia, which I would like to do and I have only changed planes in Germany, which is the country my paternal ancestors came from.

But I have a sense of home here I haven’t experienced before. I love Los Angeles but never was quite sure I was at home there though I lived there for a LONG time.

But here I am, living in New York, splitting my time between the City and between Claverack. The thought of how much I loved it was much with me this week

It is Christmas in the city and it’s Christmas in the country. The tree is up in Rockefeller Center and Warren Street in Hudson is ablaze with holiday lights on its old fashioned street lamps, looking nothing so much as a real life version of the miniature old fashioned Christmas villages so popular today.

Driving up Warren Street in Hudson on my way back to the house after dropping Tripp at the train I rode the quiet, empty street with its lights and the windows decorated in ways that reminded me of what I thought small town America must have always been like – followed later that very day by my striding down the crowded avenues of New York with its bright lights, sophisticated decorations and bustling crowds.

Returning to Hudson at night, I found myself entranced by the fact that in the parking lot picking up the car, I could see both the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. When I was a kid, I could see them all the time but in my adulthood, I’ve always lived or been in places where there have been too many lights.

Claverack is bucolic; New York exhilarating.

But beyond the safe and sacred world I currently inhabit is the larger world.

Baghdad is blowing up but the news I see in the morning is not talking much about all those car bombs.

We have been fixated in New York this week with the problems of Pale Male and his family, a hawk and his kin, that have inhabited a cornice for a number of years on one of the toniest buildings in New York. Mary Tyler Moore inhabits the building. So does Paula Zahn. The co-op board decided to evict the birds and there has been a city-wide brou ha ha about it. So much so that the co-op board had to relent and Pale Male and family are returning to their home, though they have to rebuild their nest.

Now I think it’s wonderful that a city like New York will rise up to defend Pale Male and family but is it so important that the local news talked only of that and nothing of events half way round the world?

Tripp reported having read in the international press that American media seems intent on diverting our attention from the global situation, making sure we don’t think too much about Iraq for fear it will interrupt our shopping.

I would like to think not but it seems we are getting very only dribbles of information about the war while receiving torrents about the mundane, the cute, the superficial and, ultimately, the unimportant.