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Niagara Falls News

Russia’s Kosygin Skipped Check Visiting Niagara Falls

Russian Leader Visits Niagara Falls

In 1967 Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin visited Niagara Falls on a day trip between scheduled “Big Two” talks with then President Johnson. It was June 24th and Kosygin took Lyndon Johnson up on his offer to take a jet anywhere in the U.S. The head of the Communist world picked Niagara Falls as the one place he would like to see.

Niagara Falls

Kosygin and Mayor Lackey

Kosygin, his daughter and about sixty comrades flew to the Niagara Falls Air Force base and then drove down to the Falls themselves. The entourage viewed the mighty Niagara and even Niagara Fallstook a ride on the Maid of the Mist.

U.S State Department officials and Niagara Falls’ Mayor E. Dent Lackey also took Kosygin’s group to the Niagara Hydro Electric Plant down river where he took a tour of the Niagara Power Vista.

In 1967 the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union was going strong. Yet, Kosygin was not only well received when he arrived in Niagara Falls with short notice, he also acted as any visiting tourist would. Kosygin was not the stoic Soviet as many had expected and greatly enjoyed his visit to Niagara.

When it came time for lunch Alexei Kosygin and company were taken to what was then the finest steak house in Niagara Falls, John’s Flaming Hearth on Military Road. By all accounts the Russian visitors enjoyed the steaks as well as the pumpkin ice cream pie that owner John Prozeralik was famous for.

When the large group of dignitaries and foreign leaders left the restaurant it was discovered that no one had paid the check. The mix-up was the fault of the U.S State Department and resolved when the omission was brought to their attention. However, the late John Prozeralik gained regional fame for playing up the fact that the “Ruskie” didn’t pay his check.

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