NEW YORK – The Statue of Liberty (search ) was reopened Tuesday despite a heightened terror alert that came as investigators uncovered a list of financial targets believed targeted by Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda (search) terror network.
The reopening is the first time the historic national monument will be completely open for visitors since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But the statue's crown will remain out of reach for now.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Gale Norton joined a crowd Tuesday for the ceremonial reopening of the pedestal.
Lady Liberty is "a symbol — another reason for tourists to come here," Bloomberg said during a press conference with New York Gov. George Pataki and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Tuesday. "It's good for our psyche, good for our image, good for our economy."
"People should be able to come here without fear, work in these buildings, go out on the streets without having to look over their shoulder," Bloomberg continued. "The best days for New York are yet to come and the terrorists will not win."
Norton was on hand to officially open the doors, and a military choir sang George M. Cohan's "It's a Grand Old Flag" before the crowd rose for the national anthem.
"This beacon of hope and liberty is once again open to the public, sending a reassuring message to the world that freedom is alive in New York and shining brighter than ever before," Pataki said.
Also expected was a flyover by New Jersey Air National Guard fighter jets.
Plans to reopen Lady Liberty's pedestal to the public went ahead despite new warnings over the weekend of possible terrorist attacks on financial centers in nearby Manhattan, Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C.
Ridge said that because of the heightened security steps, "We have made it much more difficult for the terrorists to achieve their broad objectives. ... We will not become fortress America."
New York officials stressed that the terror threat is being combated with the best public and private security available and that New Yorkers will not live in fear.
"There were more employees on the floor of the stock exchange yesterday than there were normally. That's the way New Yorkers are," Pataki said of the New York Stock Exchange (search), which was specified as a target in recently uncovered information held by two detained Al Qaeda suspects.
Bloomberg said hotels this week have been full, theaters are doing well, the restaurants and bars are "packed," commuters are taking the subways as they always have and no company is thinking about leaving the city.
"That's because New York City is open for business … and it is going to stay open," he said. "Nobody is going to dissuade us from making this our home. Nobody's going to change our minds — this is the place where they have the ultimate opportunity."
The public will be allowed to enjoy the panoramic view from the observation deck at the top of the pedestal, about 16 stories above ground. The rest of the statue will continue to be off-limits because it cannot accommodate large numbers of tourists and does not meet safety codes.
"I think it shows the world that liberty cannot be intimidated," Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson said during a media preview tour Monday. "I think it's significant that despite the raising of the alert levels, we are still going ahead with the reopening."
Tightened security measures at the 117-year-old national monument include a new anti-bomb detection device that blows a blast of air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosive residue. Bomb-sniffing dogs also were present during the preview.
Liberty Island, the statue's 12-acre home, was closed for 100 days after Sept. 11, 2001. Airport-type metal detectors were installed to screen visitors boarding the ferry from lower Manhattan, and the island was reopened in December 2001.
While he did not rule it out, Larry Parkinson, deputy assistant Interior secretary for law enforcement and security, said it was unlikely that visitors would have access to the statue's interior spiral staircases in the foreseeable future.
Visitors can tour a reopened museum inside the pedestal, which tells the story of the statue, from its arrival in 1886 as a gift from France to its rededication after a major overhaul a century later. An alternative tour allows visitors to stroll the promenade atop the star-shaped former fort on which the statue and its pedestal rise some 30 stories above the harbor.
The tours cost $10 a head for adults and $4 for children. Tour choices must be reserved ahead, a move aimed at alleviating the congestion that in recent years forced some visitors to spend eight hours waiting in lines to get to and from the islands by boat.
Kevin Mason, president of the Circle Line (search), whose ferries serve the Statue of Liberty, said he hoped the reopening would help bring back tourists whose numbers fell 45 percent after the 2001 terrorist attacks — from 4.5 million a year in 2000 to 2.6 million in 2002.
The 152-foot robed female figure with spiky crown and upraised torch became the most familiar symbol of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, welcoming millions of immigrants arriving at nearby Ellis Island (search) and later marking the departure and return of troops from two world wars in Europe.
FOX News' Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.