Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy



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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

With the first fluttering of spring in the air, New Yorkers began to come out of the grey mood that has rested over us to one extent or another since September 11. People were in the parks in shorts and playing Frisbee with each other or with their dogs. Lovers were walking hand in hand through the Battery and along the streets.

Tourists were everywhere and the walk down Church Street was more challenging than a stroll through Soho on the worst of days. Families of tourists posed in front of the barriers and had their pictures taken, smiling at the camera, at Ground Zero, a moment to take back to wherever they had come from. Others stood silently, heads bowed, full of silence and respect. Many New Yorkers who had not had the courage to go downtown yet, found in the better weather, the courage to go down and see the hole. A man with whom I am friendly but not quite friends, admitted that until last Sunday he had not had the courage to go downtown, couldn't actually go below 14th Street until now. But he had gone and felt he had assimilated the experience.

My impression of the chap is that he lives with his life inabsolute order and this destroyed order too much to be confronted, until his sense of internal order had been restored by the resumption of an "everyday" sort of life. And that's what we had gone back to, some sense of normality, of "everyday-ness."

It was a sense of blessing, this moving back to feeling ordinary. But then came Sunday of this week. The front page of the New York Times had an article in it about the possibility of new attacks, on New York. And the television news that day was full of the same: New York was the target. It was inevitable. My god, but have I heard that word a lot lately: inevitable. It was/is inevitable we will have suicide bombers. Attacks will come.

By Sunday evening, people were incredibly tense. Four of us gathered for some champagne and cheese and salmon to celebrate and enjoy the visit of a friend from the UK. But, in corners, we talked of being afraid. In the days since then, friends have spoken, seriously, of leaving New York. Of working to find some place far away from the city. Other friends have said that our buying the house upstate was an act of "unconscious competence." I am tired tonight. And I am afraid. And I do not like this feeling of fear. But it is the inheritance of our time.