WABC-TV, New York, said the terror suspect was taken into custody after being monitored as part of a three-month joint federal-New York Police Department operation.
The TV station reported authorities said the man parked a van he thought was filled with explosives and tried to detonate them with a cellphone call. He then was arrested by federal agents.
Officials said the call was placed from the Millennium Hotel across from the World Trade Center.
The suspect was believed to be a resident of Long Island.
The Wall Street Journal reported a person it described as being familiar with the case said the arrest was made by FBI agents Tuesday night.