Oceanside native, community dentist bikes to give back

Alan Schwartz, a 1976 Oceanside High School graduate, has practiced dentistry in the hamlet for 10 years.
Alan Schwartz, a 1976 Oceanside High School graduate, has practiced dentistry in the hamlet for 10 years.
Briana Bonfiglio/Herald

Oceanside native Alan Schwartz wasn’t through with his hometown when he went away to college in Binghamton and dental school in Buffalo, nor when he opened a practice in Queens or moved to Jericho.

In 2009, the 1976 Oceanside High School graduate opened a dental office in the hamlet that he calls home. It is his second office; he opened his first in Kew Gardens in 1989. “I know every street,” Schwartz said of Oceanside. “A lot of my patients are my buddies I went to high school with and played ball with. So it’s pretty cool, and it’s a great location.”

The neighborhood dentistry, centrally located on Davison Avenue between the Veterans Triangle and Oceanside Library, celebrated 10 years last month. “The practice is successful,” Schwartz said, and so he decided it was time to give back in a big way.

Schwartz is bicycling for a cause and donating money per mile to Oceanside Community Service, Inc., a local organization that has helped struggling families since 1949.

About four years ago, Schwartz started cycling with clubs across Long Island. He picked up the pastime for exercise after a friend suggested it to him. Now Schwartz squeezes riding time in on Sundays and every other Saturday when he’s not treating teeth at both his offices.

“I went out, and I just got hooked,” he offered casually. He added that he used to play racquetball for exercise, but biking has become a more consistent and energizing part of his life.

Schwartz mainly rides with Mineola Bicycle Club. The group bikes the open, hilly roads of Long Island’s North Shore, as well as bike trails in Bear Mountain and New Paltz. Schwartz said he especially enjoys biking at Nesconset Park. When he’s practicing on his own, he rides the trail from Cedar Creek Park in Seaford to Jones Beach.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I love being outdoors, it feels good. You see things on a bike that you don’t see when you’re driving a car.”

Schwartz said he also enjoys the technology and technique of riding in a group, which entails electronic gear shifting and training to stay in line with other bikers. “The technology on the bike is like dentistry,” he said, noting that he’s always learning about new tech in dentistry and keeping his practice modern.

He and members of Mineola Bicycle Club use the smart phone app Strava to track their miles. Based on this, Schwartz will donate a certain amount of money to Oceanside Community Service in 2019. Last year, he rode 4,000 miles So far this year, he has ridden 1,800 miles.

“I just thought about it,” he said. “ … They track our miles and I’m doing all this bike riding … why not just give back to the community.”