The Pakistani-American, identified as Shahzad Faisal, was arrested at JFK airport when he was trying to board a plane to Dubai.
The man turned into the prime suspect in the May 2 attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square after investigators identified him as the buyer of the four-wheeler which carried the explosives.
According to US media reports, the man from Connecticut is a naturalised US citizen from Pakistan. He reportedly bought the 1993 Nissan sport utility vehicle with cash and no paperwork in the last three weeks.
The suspect had visited Pakistan in the recent past, the New York Times reported.
Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Justice Department, are hunting for other suspects as they believe that the attempted attack may have involved more than one person and could have international ties.