New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing City Council speaker Christine Quinn for mayor in 2013, at least privately, The New York Times reported.

Manhattan's largest daily reported on Monday that Bloomberg “has told almost everyone who asks – but only privately, so far – that he hopes … Quinn will succeed him.”

“There's no question in my mind that of all the candidates, he sees Chris Quinn as far better for the city of New York,” said former Mayor Ed Koch.

But the Times noted that Bloomberg, who is facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure and is limited to giving $4,950 to Quinn's bid, cannot hand-pick his successor.

“You cannot anoint; you can influence, you can impact,” Koch said. “It is not an overriding endorsement that assures you of success.”

The paper added that a Bloomberg endorsement could help Quinn with business leaders and Republicans but hurt her among liberals who opposed the mayor's cuts in social services.

If elected, Quinn would become the city's first openly gay mayor, and the nation's most visible.

Quinn and her partner of 10 years, lawyer Kim Catullo, plan to take advantage of the gay marriage law she and Bloomberg helped pass. The couple has announced they'll marry next spring.