The workers pulled him aboard a train and took him to a lower Manhattan subway station. Police there discovered he was carrying a backpack holding a quart container full of sodium cyanide pellets, five highway flares and two bottles of water.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said investigators quickly ruled out the possibility the man could be a terrorist. He said the man instead convinced police that his plan was to kill himself in an isolated spot by swallowing the chemicals.
Police speculated the man may have considered using the flares to heat up the chemicals and inhaling the fumes.
He was not immediately charged.