Sam Allardyce returned to the Northeast to guide the Hammers to their first victory at Sports Direct Arena (St James' Park) in 14 years as Alan Pardew was unable to get anything against his former employers.
West Ham had not created much in the opening 30 minutes but managed to go ahead in the 37th minute when former Magpies skipper Kevin Nolan diverted Joey O'Brien's driven effort in at the back post after Davide Santon failed to clear properly.
The returns of Nolan and loan Hammers striker Andy Carroll to Newcastle was the talking point of the match and there was little else to gossip about because neither side really produced anything of note throughout.
Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa's deflected shot late in the first half had a lot of fans confused as it flashed into the side netting off Winston Reid before Demba Ba's header early in the second half looked in until Jussi Jaaskelainen intervened with a goal-line save.
Jaaskelainen was then on hand to deny Ben Arfa who was close to levelling from a corner before Tim Krul thwarted Carroll down the other end with a one-on-one save.
Newcastle were pressing hard for an equaliser but the only decent chance late came deep into injury-time when Yohan Cabaye fizzed over the bar with a fierce effort from the edge of the area.
In the end, however, West Ham held on for a handy set of three points away from home to go within two points of fifth-placed West Bromwich Albion as the Toon remained 10th following their third defeat of the campaign.
Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle-upon-Tyne - 51,855