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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

Letter From New York: An American Experience
By Mat Tombers

August 3, 2006

Tombers Reports on Living When It is Hot as H**L, Part Deux

Usually I begin working on my “Letter From New York” at least a day before it’s due; today I am battling my deadline to get this in. It’s been a combination of factors that has put me behind schedule. Just starting a new assignment for a client, I have been down in the city for three days, two nights and since it has been a long time since I’ve spent a night in the city, I have used it to squeeze in seeing a number of people I have [perhaps] neglected. Tuesday I had dinner with an old colleague from Discovery who now runs programming for WE: Women’s Entertainment. Wednesday I had dinner with an old friend, down in SoHo, not far from where I lived when first in New York. The following night, I moderated a panel for the PGA [Producer’s Guild of America] with two of my favorite people, the Renaud brothers, Craig and Brent, who have just been nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy for their HBO film, DOPE SICK LOVE.

New York, which has recently been called “the nicest big city in the world” has had that title tested this past week against the pressure of the mind boggling heat wave that has pressed down upon the city, the heat wave having migrated across the country from west to east, providing misery to many as it marched, like Sherman to the sea.

As the heat wave laid siege to Louisville, a local wag friend said it was so bad it was making the Red State of Kentucky believe in Al Gore. On the train, people chatted about a scientist who had been outlining the worst case scenario of Global Warming. While not quite following, I knew it was not a pretty picture.

The eastern power grid has been challenged and every day new warnings were issued, reminding easterners to turn up their air conditioning and turn down their lights to take stress off a system churning out more power than it ever has – with magnificent luck only pockets broke down and burned out [poor Queens, the borough most unloved by the electricity gods].

Everyone I know has moved with uncharacteristic slowness, a kind of languor that would make tourists think they were in Savannah rather than in the city that never slept. And the city is full of tourists. Going to a meeting near Times Square I had to dodge dozens with maps unfolded, attempting to find their way to their next landmark. Slipping by them, I had to twist around the ladies with the placards declaring that the time of Rapture was upon us.

What with the heat, the bad news from Lebanon and Iraq and Israel, the possibility that Iran is making nukes and the rumor that the Pakistanis are building a very suspicious reactor, well…it’s no wonder the ladies were waving their Rapture signs so high.

In what seemed more movie script like than reality, several news organizations on and off air explored the concepts of Rapture and Armageddon while squirreling through the quatrains of Master Nostradamus to find sense of the present while looking for road signs for the future. St. John’s Book of Revelations seemed suddenly more popular than usual.

In an unusual move for me, news junkie that I am, I found I was rationing my doses of bad news. I doubt that I am alone in this non-activity.

My theory of the week is that the heat has acerbated everything around us and the heat is a catalyst for everything that has been causing us anxiety. Surprisingly, in this heat and the anxiety surrounding us, the people on the streets have been remarkably polite. No one knocked down the Rapture Ladies; tourists were helped and while Beirut and Baghdad burn, we continue on and in our continuing on continue to be what I like to think we are at our hearts: decent.