Painted in 1974, Fire Island with a Second Ending is related to a group of three-dimensional paintings of 1973-1974 which borrowed their form from fold-out postcards. The most important of the group was the monumental New York City Postcard Foldout (1973) which stood on the floor in a zigzag configuration of panels portraying popular tourist sights of Manhattan.
After early three-dimensional paintings of the crumpled and folded postcards, Morley progressed to depicting the three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional manner, as in Fire Island with a Second Ending.
The imagery of this painting is a journal of a visit to Fire Island, and the vivid colors and scenes of the seashore were to become an important subject in Morley's work of the 1970s and 1980s. The addition of two hinged canvases as the second ending recalls both the objectness of the canvas and stretchers, as well as the source of the painting, foldout postcards. The contradiction in Fire Island with a Second Ending are Morley at his best, portraying objects of the real world on a flat picture plane.