New York City will become the first U.S. city to have its own Internet domain, as business, residents and government bodies will be able to create websites on the newly minted .NYC domain, city officials said today.

“With a new top-level domain name, New York won’t just be the greatest city in the world — we’ll also be the greatest city on the internet,” said city council speaker Christine C. Quinn, who was the first to call for the city to establish a domain name.

Officials are pitching the domain to small businesses as a way to improve their visibility in local search results in a sprawling city like New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also said it will give them the chance “to identify themselves as connected to New York City, one of the world’s strongest and most prestigious brands.”

The city said registration for .nyc addresses will open later this year. It said fees were “to be determined,” but said multiple Registrars are expected to participate, making pricing “competitive with the market prices for other top-level domains.”

Individuals will have to meet residency requirements to get a .nyc Web address.

The city paid a $185,000 registration fee for the domain and will have to maintain the technology that support it. Still, San Francisco city officials are probably regretting that they didn’t think of this first.