Moet & Chandon Fabulous Fete on Liberty Island
Bryan Bedder
The Statue of Liberty, seen here in September 2006, is reopening completely to the public after being shuttered after the 9/11 attacks. It was partially reopened in 1994.
updated 7/1/2009 4:25:18 PM ET 2009-07-01T20:25:18

It's hot, it's dark and it's crowded, but people just can't wait to visit.

The Statue of Liberty's crown is opening to tourists on July Fourth for the first time in eight years. It closed shortly after terrorists leveled the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Tickets for the July Fourth weekend sold out within hours.

Tegan Firth, spokeswoman for Statue Cruises, says the crown tickets went on sale June 13th and are already sold out through early September.

240 visitors a day
Visitors will once again be able to see the majestic view of New York Harbor from Lady Liberty's crown starting on Independence Day, which is Saturday.

The top of the famed copper statue has been closed for nearly eight years, but visitors have been able to tour the pedestal and lower observation decks since 1994.

About 240 visitors will get to make the trip all the way up to Liberty's crown each day. Firth notes visitors have more room to move around on the observation deck, located inside the statue's pedestal, than in the crown.

Some wonder why it took so long for the crown to reopen.

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner calls the eight-year closure "a partial victory for terrorists" and an "embarrassment for the federal government."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: The Statue of Liberty then and now

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  1. Lending a hand

    A gift from France, the Statue of Liberty -- which also served as a lighthouse in its early years -- was designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. The money for the base and pedestal, however, came from American pockets,with newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer among the most passionate in raising funds. In this picture, the forearm and torch of the statue is seen on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. The public could pay fifty cents to climb to the balcony of the torch. (FPG via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Men behind the monument

    Taken circa 1880, these pictures show the two great minds behind the Statue of Liberty: sculptor Auguste Bartholdi (right), and French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. The latter, the man behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was responsible for the statue's internal structure, around which was wrapped the sculpted copper cladding. (Hulton Archive) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Statue under construction

    Originally published in the Strand Magazine circa 1884, this picture shows the left hand of the Statue of Liberty under construction. Sixty men worked for almost ten years to complete the 225-ton monument. (This number didn't include designer Bartholdi and his assistants.) (Hulton Archive) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Base near completion

    This 1886 photo shows the construction of the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. The stone-built structure was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Air wave

    In this picture taken circa 1935, military aircraft fly over the statue. (General Photographic Agency via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Crown repaired

    Steeplejacks remove the spiked crown from the head of the Statue of Liberty for renovation before the 1939 World's Fair. The fair attracted hundreds of thousands of participants. The rays of Lady Liberty's crown have been said to represent the seven continents. (Horace Abrahams / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Mini me

    As part of an effort to encourage New York City's residents to buy war bonds, this flood-lit, 55-foot high version of the Statue of Liberty was erected in the Times Square area in 1944. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Aged 90, celebrating 200

    Fireworks explode around the Statue of Liberty during the American Bicentennial celebration on July 4, 1976. (Hulton Archive) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Golden days

    "From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome," Emma Lazarus wrote in a poem now engraved inside the monument. In this 1985 picture, Robert Gohard, a member of a French restoration team, puts finishing touches of gilding on the statue's new torch. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Shroud removed

    Scaffolding is taken down after a massive renovation that took place in the mid-1980s. The statue was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984. (Mario Cabrera / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Fleet of fans

    From 1984 to 1986, the statue remained closed to public for restorations in preparation for its centennial, a project that cost $62 million. In this picture taken a day before the grand reopening, small sailing ships and pleasure boats gather to to observe the celebrations. (Mario Cabrera / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Witness to tragedy

    Lady Liberty looks out across to the site of the destroyed World Trade Center a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 305-foot high symbol of democracy was closed to visitors immediately after the towers fell. (Dan Loh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Looking bubbly

    The Statue of Liberty is lit up for a party thrown by French champagne maker Moet & Chandon in September 2006 (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Ready for reopening

    After being closed to the public for nearly eight years, the government decided to reopen the statue to visitors on July 4, 2009 (the base was reopened in 2004). Here, a journalist climbs up the internal staircase in May 2009. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Past torch

    The original torch from the Statue of Liberty sits in a lobby at the entrance to the monument on Liberty Island May, 2009 . It was replaced with a gilded version in the mid-1980s. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Ferry riders view the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2009, the day its crown was reopened. The crown had been closed since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Jeff Zelevansky / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Downtown Manhattan is seen in the background in a view from the crown of the Statue of Liberty, July 2009. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Frederick Sciulli, 54, of Norfolk, Va., sticks his head out of a window of the Statue of Liberty's crown, which opened after nearly eight years, July 2009. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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