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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Oh, My God! It's Coming!
By Mat Tombers

The markets seemed to have stabilized a bit. W. signed a bill to crack
down on corporate crime. The market is behaving again, mostly.

So we're back to thinking about the world as we're living in it now.
One of the lead articles in this past week's news, whether you're
reading the newspaper or watching the news, was the decision by Governor
Pataki of New York to increase security at Penn Station. There is no
reason, he said, to think that any attack on the facility was imminent
or even thought about but he felt it just wasn't secure enough so he was
going to double the National Guard troops deployed there for at least
forty-five days. Hmmm. Let's do a little math.

Today is July 31, 2002 and forty five days takes us to.about September
15th. Or just after the first anniversary of September 11th.

That's where we are folks. On the march toward the anniversary.

It seems impossible that a full year will soon have gone by but it will.
This has been one of the longest years of my life. I can't remember a
time when time went this slowly - at least not since I was five years
old and every day was an eternity.

There was a quick news flash this morning that Fox News Channel was
going to eschew commercials on the anniversary. The first but not last
such announcement I suspect. We will soon be, I think, inundated with
memories - and I have very mixed feelings about this. I believe Fox is
calling its programming on the 11th as "The Day America Changed."

So it has. There was a stunningly good piece this morning in the Times
about Senator Kerrey, rumored to be in search of the Democratic
Presidential nomination, quoting him as saying that "Foreign Policy" has
become now Main Street. What was distant is now close to home. We have
been forced into the global community.

Walking down Broadway I listened to two foot soldiers in the Wall Street
world discussing the war in Afghanistan while all of us were weaving our
way through a sea of summer tourists who were taking pictures of the
impromptu Memorial that grew up on the fence around St. Paul's Church.
I can't linger there long to look at it. My eyes well up with tears.
Today I noticed, for the first time, a very large photo of a handsome
young man, twenty-four only when the Towers went down on him. His
family had put it there on his birthday to memorialize him.

I did not pause to study the photo. I could not bear to.

A half dozen tourists were taking pictures of it to take back to
wherever they had come from.

All of this infuriates some New Yorkers. Tripp gets very testy over the
gaggle of tourists all around "the hole." It is obscene, some think, to
have photos of yourself taken, smiling at the camera with the backdrop
of a scene of devastation. I am not quite that hard but I do find
it.unnerving. Though, you know, I'm sure there is a photo of me from
some family vacation smiling in front of some memorial. It is what we
do on vacation.

But right now we just have a hole, not a memorial.

The night before last, sitting on the deck of the building where we
live, we watched a fighter plane scream over and I don't remember seeing
one for a long time. Behind us gleamed the Empire State Building, aglow
in red, white and blue, a frappe of light, visible again in Lower
Manhattan because it is no longer obscured by the Twin Towers.

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal devoted a good deal of space to the
network plans for 9/11. And there are a lot. It has me, in fact, just
a little worried - will I feel like I am right back there again, in that
emotional whirlpool from which I am only a few inches now. It may be
that on September 11th I will go to the country and listen to Mozart's
Requiem and keep the television off.

And find some church in which to light a candle.