West Bronx actor doesn’t quit; creates his own show, hires crew with his own savings

Steve Greenstein and his crew film "COVID Ditty"
Photos by Jason Cohen

When COVID-19 arrived Broadway shuttered and filming for TV shows and movies stopped. Stuck at home, actor and Kingsbridge resident Steve Greenstein began to write a series about the pandemic.

Greenstein, 60, an actor for more than 30 years, was recently in “Pose” on FX and has worked with people like Gary Busey, Christopher Meloni, Burt Lancaster, Dennis Franz and Jerry Seinfeld.

He realized that sitting at home wasn’t an option, so he decided to tell the story of how the virus had affected his hometown.

“I said I have to get back to work,” he said. “I love Kingsbridge. I love the diversity.”

So, he dipped into his savings, hired actors and in the summer began filming “COVID Ditty,” a five-part series of short clips that capture glimpses of life in and around his neighborhood. The show centers on Charlie, his son, and a man named Phil, and how they are coping with the pandemic in Kingsbridge.

The cast rehearsed their scripts at Tibbett Diner on Tibbett Ave and got their COVID tests at Imperial Pharmacy on Corlear Ave., per SAG-AFTRA requirements. They filmed scenes at Cristo Rey Barbershop, 227 W 231st St, Carvel on Broadway and across from the Kingsbridge Donut Shop.

Greenstein describes the show as historical fiction and showed the juxtaposition of how COVID-19 forced mom-and-pop stores and dry cleaners to close, while liquor stores and places like Target remained open.

“These areas don’t get in the movies much,” he said referring to Kingsbridge.

Since production began in the summer the community welcomed the cast and crew with open arms. Greenstein praised the young actors and crew he for helping him create something so impactful.

“I couldn’t have done it alone,” he explained. “It’s very much a coalition.”

Greenstein told the Bronx Times that his will power and determination to work during the pandemic comes from the strength of his late parents. His mother was a Holocaust survivor and his dad, a WWII veteran.

“I have a lot of grit in me,” he commented. “I feel like the pandemic is like we’re in a war. This is my little Battle of the Bulge. I think they’d be very proud of me. My sensitivity comes from growing up with all of that.”

To view the show go to Stevegreensteinactor.com or @covidditty.

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