For more than two decades, Schwartz was the president of the Briarwood Community Association. His list of achievements include a downzoning of the neighborhood, advocating for the opening of the Briarwood Post office, and helping open the Briarwood Branch of the Queens Library.
He was central to renaming the Briarwood subway station and elevator, creating the Briarwood Community Foundation, and organizing the Briarwood Street Fair.
Outside of his neighborhood, Schwartz helped found the Queens Civic Congress, serves on the NYC Airport Community Roundtable, and is second vice-chair of Community Board 8.
A World War II veteran, Schwartz has lived in Briarwood since 1953. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and has degrees from New York University and The Cooper Union.
“There’s never a shortage of issues, so you keep going,” Schwartz said. “In my particular case, it was 23 years.”
Schwartz said he got involved in his community based on one particular issue, but that sparked his interest in civic life.
“In a large sense, because of my experiences in the world at large and the business world, it was relatively easy to move in greater depths into the work of the community,” he said. “That was really the beginning.”
But he’s not done. Schwartz is still focusing on local issues, including housing and public safety.
“We depend upon the city to set the tone and force the issues that we have in common, that require attention, and that bind the community together,” he said, “including the institutions we build in our communities.”