Police halted traffic and set up an inflatable cushion under the pole at 44th Street and Seventh Avenue for fear he would jump.
The man appeared to argue with four police officers trying to negotiate with him from the ladder of a police emergency truck.
Hundreds of onlookers packed the sidewalks to watch.
The man was wearing a red polo shirt, khaki shorts and baseball cap. He finally came down the ladder around 11:15 a.m. and was taken into custody.