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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Thoughts On What's Real…

Last week I wrote that New York was still in the embrace of the Ice Queen and it still is this week but that embrace does not spread across all the land. Leaving New York last Friday, I took the train up to Hudson where the clouds had parted and the sun was shining.

Taking the train to Hudson on Friday is a small ritual, done most weeks, a small, sweet luxury of time and peace, riding up the Hudson River, through some of the most beautiful parts of the American countryside, past West Point, to Hudson, which was once a whaling town. [I need to do some research because I haven't quite figured out how Hudson, so far up the River, was a whaling town but it was…]

Hudson Taxi is programmed into my mobile phone and once I know what train it is that I'm going to be on, I phone and they are there, faithfully, to pick me up and take me the short drive out to Claverack Cottage.

I've gotten to know them, the taxi people. I know more about the taxi business in upstate New York than I would ever have thought I would have known. I know Jerry, owner of Hudson Taxi, a company built by consolidating some of the assets left behind when Piney, the late owner of Star City Taxi, passed away. Piney got his last speeding ticket two weeks before he died at eighty- three. He once drove me to our house, during a blizzard, in his snowplow because they weren't going to leave me stranded.

The taxi folks have become participants in my life and I am grateful they are there. The ability to count on a ride from the train station to the house is an important element of making Claverack Cottage the soft and special place it is.

All of this is about last Friday, when I had been so aware that New York was embraced in the arms of the Ice Queen. But upstate it was different. The sun was out and there was a spirit of hopefulness that has been missing lately in the city. Business was okay - not great, but okay.

The spirit of hopefulness was there that was lacking in the city and I was grateful to be able to experience a moment of it. It anchored me and refreshed me.

On Saturday, the sun continued to shine and Tripp found lots of time to plant more ferns and to work on rearranging the shed. I sat on the deck; planning the party we will give this coming weekend for the birthdays of Tripp and our friend Paul. The creek flowed by; the geese were as noisy as they could be. Our shopping was centered on essential things - like a new barbeque. It was centering, all of these simple tasks done in the bright light of a spring sun.

You see, all of us who live in New York - or in Los Angeles - who are obsessed by our jobs and our businesses, need to have places like Claverack to anchor us back to the reality of life and to all those things that everyone else is thinking about - like a new barbeque.

I went up to Claverack today to pick up the car, packed last weekend with things from the country that need to come to the city, so that we could take all the things from the city that need to go the country up with us tomorrow…

Jerry picked me up and took me out to the house and while we went the five miles from station to house, I was on the phone with a client who was having a lunch in Los Angeles, talking about a project we're selling to Discovery, discussing things like foreign sales. Essential to our world but of complete nonsense to Jerry…

This is why I am so fiercely grateful that I have Claverack in my life. It reminds me that not everyone is obsessed by the things that obsess me and that the world of media is not the center of the universe of everyone.