The only decent location at JFK
has now been spoiled by the Port Authority. The US Customs parking lot had blue plastic weaved into the chain link.
Off airport there are places along Rockaway Blvd where you are under the approach.
I have been to Howard Beach once, and quickly left, it wasn't the nicest beach I've ever been on and the clientele weren't the greatest either!
Try Jones Beach or Atlantic Beach at the end of Rockaway if they are landing on 31L/R, or Coney Island if they are using 13L/R.