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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

By Mat Tombers

My old friend Phil recently moved back to New York from California,
after having been away from here for almost twenty - five years. He
left New York and went to California where he taught acting to students
who wanted to know how to act as well as how to get into a hit sitcom.

But a few years ago, trouble with his eyes forced Phil to reconsider his
options. He couldn't drive anymore and Los Angeles is not a place to
live if you can't drive, so he decided that he would come back east and
see if he could find some teaching work here, where one can live quite
successfully without a car so a few weeks ago he packed up his Los
Angeles life and came back to New York.

We'd spoken a few times but hadn't gotten together until last Monday
evening when he came over from where he's staying in New Jersey and had
dinner with us. As we were sitting over a glass of wine [at least I
was; he was chugging down honest Diet Cokes] he told me that he was glad
to be back here. He still loved all the people watching that comes with
being in New York.

He hadn't been back here since September 11th and I asked him how he
found the city, and its inhabitants. He said to me: people seem weary
and very wary, as if we are waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I was surprised because I don't see that as much any more. Loud noises
don't make us jump --- as high. But then I am here most of the time and
have grown more used to our reactions. I did my best the next few days
to step outside myself and to look at the people around me.

It seemed not surprising that Phil was finding people to be weary and
wary. It's the way it is - it is just that we are not as weary and as
wary as we were even a few months ago. But it's here.

You see, we got through the 4th of July unscathed and there was a huge
sigh of relief, a collective sense: we dodged a bullet. But now we are
facing the anniversary of the 11th and people are afraid again. Will it
be this date that we will be targeted again? So we wait. That's the

The weariness is from two things, I think. Weary of the day to day
living with a hole in the ground, weary of the day to day reminders that
are beating an increasing staccato as we get closer to the anniversary
date and the weariness that comes with just being a New Yorker though
now made more difficult from being part of a wounded city.

Every day the news here is full of painful reminders - tales from a camp
for children of 9/11 survivors, the growing accessibility of "the hole,"
and the distant and disengaged faces of vendors on the side of Church
Street and Broadway and Trinity Place all hawking souvenirs of tragedy,
t-shirts that have been made in Pakistan as well as quickly published
photo journals on "Day of Tragedy" or "Day of Terror" with heart-rending
photos of exploding towers on the covers.

Is it a wonder we are weary - and wary?