Brooklyn: Goose Barnacle
Words by Joanna Han Photographs by Michael A. Muller
We interviewed David Alperin, the owner of Northern Spain-inspired menswear shop Goose Barnacle.
For years before opening Goose Barnacle in Brooklyn Heights in October 2010, David Alperin was a private banker. While studying jewelry design at FIT and working as head of sales for a small men’s collection, David began dreaming of opening his own shop. “I liked the idea of a concept shop that integrated all the aspects of art, fashion and design that interest me,” he says. “I wanted to create a space that can constantly evolve as I do.” We caught up with David to ask him a few questions about the concept behind his store, which carries goods by Norse Projects, Naked & Famous, Folk and more.
Where does the name Goose Barnacle come from?
The goose barnacle is a seafood delicacy only available in the northwest corner of Spain, and it also serves as a symbol of that region. The lighthouse on our logo is a graphic interpretation of the Tower of Hercules, another symbol of that area, called Galicia. The shop is entirely inspired by the Northern Spanish immigrants who came to Downtown Brooklyn during the 1930s to start a new life.
What’s the mission behind Goose Barnacle?
My shop is genuine to an extreme level. I will never put anything in my shop that I won’t personally wear, use or hang on my walls. I took what I was already doing on a personal level—searching for art and fashion that excited me—and began doing it on a larger scale for the shop. My number one rule in purchasing anything is that I have to love it and want it for me. If something about it bothers me, I won’t buy it. I’m drawn to genuine creativity, quality of production and materials, and, of course, fit and wearability. I’m passionate about designers who can design something that’s different and unique but still appealing and wearable. I like when a designer or artist tells a story or generates an emotion from their designs.
The neighborhood you’re in is quite special to you. Tell us about what it means to you.
My great-grandfather moved to Brooklyn during the Spanish Civil War and opened a delicatessen on historic Atlantic Avenue. He sold cigars and sandwiches to the Irish sailors who came into the port, which is now Brooklyn Bridge Park. My Spanish grandmother married one of these Irish navy man and opened a bar on the corner of Atlantic and Henry in the 1940s, and it still stands today—right across the street from Goose Barnacle. I’m part of the fourth generation of my family to live in this area—my nephews and niece are part of the fifth. I have 16 family members within five blocks of Goose Barnacle, and I was even born in the hospital across the street. I’ve lived in a small garden apartment in Cobble Hill for the past 12 years and don’t plan to move anytime soon.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Definitely my customers, who truly appreciate what I do, and getting to work closely with amazing designers. I also enjoy being surrounded by objects that are special to me. The trunks in the store were actually used by my distant family who came to Brooklyn on ships from Spain. The phone booths in the shop are from my grandmother’s bar, where ate dinner and played every night growing up—the interior of the shop was designed around them.
Any exciting plans for the future of Goose Barnacle?
In the immediate future, I hope to create a larger online presence and to start designing and producing my own pieces. I’ve already designed and produced an Alpaca sweater coming out this fall. Other than that—I hope to be running Goose Barnacle for the rest of my life.
91 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11201