Citizen of the Month: Lamont Williams

Once a month, I will feature a citizen among us who has in some way made a major commitment to this neighborhood – its people, places or both. There’s no formula for what qualifies someone as the Citizen of the Month; I can just say that you will know her when you see her (or in this case, him). Also, this is not a news story. There’s no reason to run this now, or next month or next year. That’s part of the point. The Citizen of the Month has most likely been serving Tribeca in one form or another for a long time, and probably will for a long time into the future as well.

The portrait photography is by Claudine Williams.

“It’s funny how this neighborhood works,” says Lamont Williams, thinking back to the moments that launched what would become – is now – a nearly 30-year career teaching and coaching Tribeca’s children. It was 1992, the first year of Downtown Day Camp (and when their building was still a parking lot) and Lamont, two years out of high school, was hired by Bob Townley. That led to a gig at Tribeca Children’s Theater, run out of a loft on Warren Street. That led to babysitting for Ivy and Lance Lappin’s two sons, who are now 33 and 32. (“It’s so funny when I see them now and they are grown men.”) Then one day Lance called and said there’s a woman in his chair who needs a teacher. Lamont then ended up running the phys ed department for Natalie Cuchel at the charter school she founded in Union Square.

In 2006, he came home to roost, working for Manhattan Youth full time and running lunch time in the yard at PS 234. All the people who started with him at Downtown Day Camp in ’92 are still there, which says a thing or two about the job and the place. He’s now sports director, the director of after school programs, camp supervisor and he runs the rec basketball league that operates out of PS 89 and 234. He also runs the field days at Spruce and PS 276. He donates sports playdates to all the school auctions (“That’s the stuff I like to do anyway.”).

I think it’s easy to say that there is not a kid raised in this neighborhood in 25 years who does not recognize Lamont.

“When they first learn how to do something, that first basket or that first dribble, that’s what puts a smile on my face,” he says. “You have to enjoy working with kids. It can’t be just a job.”

There’ve been some horrible times in the neighborhood – I don’t have to name them – but most of all lots of good times. Like when a camper, Jackson Montague, wanted to clock in like the rest of the staff so they made him a time card. It accidentally went to payroll and the staff accountant cut him a check. (“She didn’t think it was funny.”) Lamont has some nostalgia for the old Tribeca – for a time when people seemed to stick around longer. But some things never change: the mac and cheese at the Odeon is still his neighborhood favorite.

And he’s here for the long haul – for the kids, he says, and even the parents (thanks for throwing us a bone, Lamont). “It will always be about the kids.”



  1. Coach Lamont! A very well deserved citizen of the month, if not the year!



  2. I have known Lamont for decades. He is a wonderful person and deserves recognition for all he does for our Community. Thanks Lamont.

  3. I’ve known Lamont for 30 years. We are lucky to have him

  4. What a great idea for a feature! Glad to meet Coach Lamont here and look forward to all of the Citizens of the Month.

  5. Perfect choice for citizen of the month. The positive effect you’ve had on countless kids is immeasurable. We love you, Lamont!

  6. Lamont, you have been a gift to our kids and to this neighborhood. We are all lucky to know you. You are one of a kind! ❤️ And great idea for a column. Love it!

  7. A class act, and more than just a job to him. I’ve seen him make sure kids act right as if they were his own. Tribeca is in good hands.

  8. Lamont, citizen of the month does not adequately the vast impact you have had on our community and our children. You helped raise my two boys, now young men. The old African proverb said it best, It takes a village.” You, sir, bring that statement to life each and every day and with each and every child under your care.

    I could not thank you, and love you any more for all you do for our kids, and mine, in particular! Congratulations on this honor!

  9. Lamont is what makes this neighborhood special. A coach, a mentor, and all round great person we are beyond lucky to have someone so special coaching and mentoring our kids. The perfect Citizen of the Month!

  10. Lamont has always had and amazing soul and a great gift with children! Well deserved my friend!

  11. Lamont was the director of the Manhattan Youth at the school where I taught for 6 years. The students absolutely LOVED him. I didn’t know all of this other background. I’m happy about this recognition :)

  12. Lamont, This is great to read, well-deserved! I am forever grateful for the kindness, creativity, patience, and fun that you showed my 2 sons and daughter who all adore you. You made a few of their birthdays inspiring celebrations of life. Thank you for all that you do. TriBeca is indeed lucky to have you as a leader and mentor in a time when it’s so needed.

  13. You are a leader, an example, and an all around amazing person. You made my children feel like a million bucks – I still remember your smiles and fist bumps! Thank you for your impact on my children and all the programs you lead. Citizen of the Year more likely!

  14. I met coach Lamont at baseketball this year- wonderful coach and runs a great program. We are lucky to have him! Thank you for your dedication and efforts on behalf of our kids.

  15. I like this so much better than the eyesore of the week! What a stellar person is Lamont, and how wonderful that you have found a way to honor him. Thank you for this great new feature.

  16. I cant tell you how many times over the years since our kids grew up that i would run into Lamont and he would always ask about Ming and Mickey. Now Mickey and Natalie are having a baby and Ming is getting married to Melissa and when i see Lamont i know that there is continuity in this neighborhood. No secret that some of the props goes to Bob Townley, Mona Chan and a lot of the staff who have been there from the beginning. I cant think of a nicer person than Lamont. Congratulations and thank you for your steadfast positive imput over the last 30 years or so. Dan Alterman & LiWah Lai

  17. Lamont is the best. I’ve known him pretty much since he first started working in TriBeCa. We are very grateful to have him in our lives and in our kids’ lives. He shares his beautiful heart daily and tirelessly – an inspiration for the rest of us as to what being a “citizen” of the world truly means. When Lamont walks into a room, a field, the schoolyard, a court – MAGIC happens. Thank you for everything Lamont. We love you.

  18. Lamont has genuinely been a part of my son’s growing up. With the many youth of the neighborhood clambering for his attention and approval, Lamont made everyone — parents and kids — feel they were cared for. It’s natural that Tribeca is no longer recognizable to me as the cozy place we raised our kids, but Lamont helped make it a neighborhood and a home. Lamont, you’ve touched many lives!

  19. Lamont, you are all our kids hero! Great choice and a great leader and man! Congrats!

  20. Lamont only briefly coached one of my kids in basketball at 234 and that was well over a decade ago. But when I walked by Manhattan Youth the other day and saw him in the doorway it made me so happy to see his face, to know he is still here for the kids, and I thought to myself how people like Lamont make this neighborhood a community. And now this article — Perfect timing. And yes, I agree with all of the above comments: well-deserved!

    And such a great idea to highlight a citizen of the month!