UPPER EAST SIDE — A powerful neighborhood Democratic group has endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's mayoral bid — breaking from other local clubs that have snubbed the presumed front runner for supporting the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, officials said.
The Lexington Democratic Club, generally affiliated with areas of the UES between Third to Fifth Avenues, voted to back Quinn at a meeting on last Thursday.
The support comes as other groups in the Upper East Side and beyond have ramped up their criticism against Quinn because of her backing of the city's East 91st street project.
Opponents claim the MTS will lay waste to the East 70s, 80s and 90s by bringing vermin, noise, as well as a host of health and traffic-safety concerns. Anti-MTS activists have promised that to keep any project supporters out of office — and pushing for pols who promote their cause.
Meanwhile, Quinn is also trading barbs with opponent former comptroller Bill Thompson, who has slammed her for allegedly accusing him of "environmental racism," even demanding an apology via petition, according to Politicker.
But that didn't stop 56 percent of some 95 Lexington Democratic Club members from voting in Quinn's favor, insiders said.
Lexington president Darren Marks and other members said the organization tends to favor candidates endorsed by the club's elected leadership — in this case, Assembly Member Dan Quart and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
"They are the elected officials of the club. They are the leaders of the club. They are the people who we look to," Marks said. "Most of our membership stands with our electeds. They're of like mind, which is why they're our elected officials."
Asked whether the 44 percent of Quinn-non votes had anything to do with the MTS, Marks said he couldn't speak on others' opinions.
"Obviously, there are people who feel strongly on both sides of that issue," he said, but, "We had a vote, the membership showed up, they voted, and they went for Council Speaker Quinn."
Another Lex member explained: "Dan [Quart] was the executive vice president of Lexington before he was elected — so if he endorses somebody for mayor, that matters for them."
Meryl Brodsky, district leader and Lexington executive board member, felt the MTS might not have been as important to club members as endorsing a candidate and supporting a fellow Dem.
"It's not to say it's not an issue. It's a huge issue," she said of the MTS, but "it's a less pressing issue."
"There was definitely a sense that folks had — that they wanted to do an endorsement," she said.
Quinn, for her part, was happy about the endorsement, saying in a statement that it's a "privilege to have the support."
"Manhattan’s East Side is both a central residential and economic hub in New York City," she said. "I look forward to working with the Lexington Democratic Club to continue to serve East Siders as mayor."