The “Schelling points depend on who you’re playing with” essay is a different essay than this one, and Grand Central vs Empire State is an excellent example for that essay.
But this is a particularly interesting point which I will dive into a bit more:
… there are now multiple buildings taller than the Empire State building which clearly didn’t become the new schelling point, so that strategy empirically* doesn’t actually work.
The key point here is that most people who aren’t from the New York area probably don’t know that it isn’t the tallest building any more. And for Schelling point purposes, people knowing is all that matters. Just building a new tallest building isn’t enough, one also has to spread the word that there’s a new tallest building. Run ads, post on social media, all that jazz.
On the other hand, if one has to run ads and post on social media and all that jazz anyway, then the “Meet up here!” billboard starts to look like a more attractive option. Tallest building location doesn’t become relevant until there’s multiple competing billboards with competing ads, so nobody trusts the billboards anymore.
I feel like people knew the Twin Towers were taller? And probably also that the Freedom Tower is taller? The latter certainly had a lot of publicity (for reasons that are probably at least somewhat related to the points in this post, albeit a few abstractions removed)
As a foreigner i have a vague hunch that it’s probably no longer the tallest (cause come on, it can’t be for that long, right?), but there isn’t a different building I’m aware of that i would pick as probably taller.
People probably do start paying less attention as more Big Tall buildings are made, because it gets less interesting the more you do it. But I also think the Freedom Tower has basically all the advantages a Schelling point could have in terms and if publicity and narrative cohesion.