Like most Queens neighborhoods, Howard Beach is composed of several smaller neighborhoods — Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood, Old Howard Beach, and Howard Park. Howard Beach proper is a small peninsula bordered by the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue on the north, Jamaica Bay on the south, Hawtree Creek on the east separating it from Hamilton Beach and Shellbank Basin on the west that separates it from Cross Bay Boulevard.
Cross Bay Boulevard is the main commercial strip of Howard Beach and going northward it eventually turns into Woodhaven Boulevard after Ozone Park. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the Boulevard was made up almost exclusively of locally-owned shops and restaurants. However starting in the 1990s, chain stores and restaurants began moving in and now most of the well-known franchises are on the Boulevard.