It was just like old times today in front of ex-president Richard Nixon's new Manhattan townhouse.

To the right, about 15 long-haired, beared demonstrators, clad in Army jackets and blue jeans, chanted "Trade Nixon for the hostages."

To the left, an evenly matched group of middle-aged, conservatively dressed Nixonites carried signs saying "Welcome to New York."

And in the middle, a hefty squad of police officers -- at least one per protester -- kept the two factions apart.

The anti-Nixon demonstrators, who said they were Yippies looked a little older than they did during their heydays in the 1960s.

Confined by the police to an area in front of a corner bakery, they passed out copies of Nixon's 1974 resignation letter -- lest anyone forget why New York's new resident left office.

The pro-Nixon contingent was assigned to an area about a quarter of a block from Nixon's $750,000 home.

The group -- friends who arrived together -- said they were there because they had heard the Yippies would be there.

"I believe anybody who comes here has a right to live here," said Nancy Engel, a teacher.

"He has no right to be anywhere," said Aron Kay, the Yippies' leader.

A cabbie stopped to express his disapproval for the Yippies' "Deposed Dictators for Nixon" signs.

But looking at the other placards reading "We're glad to have you back," he seemed equally doubtful. "You've got to be speaking for the minority," the cabbie said.

The former president himself was unavailable for comment. "He's gone to Philadelphia for the weekend," one of the police officers explained.