Joseph Anthony was a young boy who played ball in an empty lot across the street from his home on 87 Palisade Ave. He perfected his pitch as a star player on the Dickinson High School baseball team — enough to get the attention of the Dodgers and the Giants, who offered him contracts at the age of 18. At the time the country was immersed in World War II and he turned down those offers to heed the call of the Army Air Corps. He served as a tail gunner on the crew of a B-29.
He never returned to the site of his childhood pastimes after losing his life in 1944 on a mission at Paulaw in the Admiralty Islands in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II. At the time of his death he had already been cited for bravery and flown 39 missions. He is one of countless soldiers from Jersey City who never returned home from war and whose families seek a way to remember and celebrate their lives.
The once empty lot was converted into a park on May 1, 1949 and named Sgt. Anthony Park in his honor. Today the park is alive with visits from neighborhood families and local residents who go to enjoy the basketball court, dog run, community garden and playground.