This is actually the fourth campus of Columbia University since 1754. The building on the far left is the Columbia School of Journalism. Then comes Low Library, the administration building, followed by Earl Hall with St. Paul's Chapel behind it. Then comes Philosophy Hall, then Kent, then Hamilton, with the International Affairs Building behind Philosophy and East Campus behind Kent. Visible in front of Low Library is the famous statue of Alma Mater on her pedestal by Daniel Chester French. The lawn you see before you is in front of Lerner Student Center.
In her 1992 novel
Until the Fat Lady Sings, Alisa Kwitney describes the very scene below thus:
"Columbia University in the afternoon. Its heavy iron gates mark a small territory of neatly roped-off lawns, evenly-planted rows of trees, and a section of less than cerulean sky. It is not so much a campus as it is an illusion of a campus, for Columbia's buildings and students spill into city streets and the denizens of city streets spill over into Columbia. Between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. pigeons can be seen on the lawns foraging for food, debating pigeon politics, and attempting to negotiate a mating. Most students can be found similarly occupied, or else sprawled on the large, smooth, broad stairs which lead to Low Library, studying anything and everything that crosses their path, but not their books." (p.9)