Broadcaster NY1 reported the arrest total was estimated at 242 by early evening. Police said five officers were sent to a hospital after a demonstrator threw an unknown liquid at them, possibly vinegar, NY1 said.
The arrests in Manhattan were made when Occupy Wall Street protesters tangled with police while trying to march on the financial district.
"This is what democracy looks like! This is what America look like," CNN reported an Occupy Twitter feed said the protesters chanted.
Other arrests were reported in other cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and Portland, Ore.
The marches coincided with the two-month anniversary of the start of the anti-greed protests, which began on Wall Street and spread nationwide.
The New York Times reported protesters' "Day of Action" included an attempt to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange, subway demonstrations, blocking the street at the Brooklyn Bridge and confrontations with police in Zuccotti Park. The Times said five people were charged with felony assault. Seven officers and 10 protesters were injured, police said.
The New York protest began peacefully but grew tense as police began making arrests when some demonstrators tried to climb over barricades, the New York Post reported. Other people were handcuffed and taken away after they sat on the ground despite police orders to leave.
"My question is how is that illegal to stand there? I got pushed and stepped on. This is the United States of America. I can walk on any sidewalk I want to," said Jessica Allure, 24, a student.
Philadelphia's WTXF-TV reported those arrested in New York included a retired Philadelphia police captain, Ray Lewis.
The Chicago Tribune reported thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, blocking the LaSalle Street bridge downtown for less than half an hour and marching through the Loop, disrupting rush-hour traffic.
"We are the 99 percent" and, "Whose streets? Our streets," they chanted.
Dozens of protesters were issued tickets, the Tribune said.
In Philadelphia, police started hauling protesters off to jail after a couple of hundred demonstrators marched to the Market Street Bridge, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In Los Angeles, KTTV-TV reported about two-dozen anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested after they sat in a circle in a downtown financial district intersection and refused to leave.
In Las Vegas, about 20 protesters were loaded aboard a police bus and hauled away for booking after a crowd blocked the street in front of the downtown federal court house.
The Portland Police Bureau said its officers arrested 25 people who were marching near the city's Steel Bridge.
CNN said about 300 protesters marched a half-mile from their encampment near the Los Angeles City Hall to a rally at the Wells Fargo Center. Several were arrested.
In Houston, about a dozen protesters were arrested after they linked arms and sat down in the middle of a major arterial road from downtown to Interstate 45.
In Washington, several hundred demonstrators made their way through the Georgetown neighborhood to the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Potomac River into Arlington, Va., where they hooked up with protesters who had marched from the Virginia side, CNN said. "Whose river? Our river," they chanted as police watched.
In St. Louis, dozens of protesters broke into a vacant municipal building to unfurl a banner after about a dozen others were arrested during a march on a city bridge, KPLR-TV reported
CNN also reported at least eight people were arrested for blocking traffic in Atlanta, dozens of people marched in Miami and Dallas police made 18 arrests while evicting Occupy campers from city property.
Meanwhile, a group called the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern for journalists covering the demonstrations, saying five have been injured by police and protesters and a dozen have been detained by police.